VISTA ULTIMATE UPGRADE

Microsoft has a special price of $99 for an upgrade to Vista Ultimate on PCs purchased from Best Buy, Staples, Circuit City, and Amazon through June, according to Paul Thurrott, normally a well-informed source. (I can’t find any reference to it on the Microsoft web site. Maybe there’s a coupon in the box or something.) […] continued

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PRIMER ON NETWORK ATTACHED STORAGE

Network Attached Storage devices (“NAS”) are starting to appear regularly at small businesses. An NAS device is a small box with one or more hard drives and a simple operating system that can add huge amounts of storage space on a network just by plugging them in. They’re frequently designed with multiple hard drives that can use RAID drive management to hold data very safely, but without the expense or maintenance required for a Windows-based server. […] continued

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BE PREPARED FOR PATCH TUESDAY

Your computer will restart tonight.

It’s Patch Tuesday, the second Tuesday of the month, when Microsoft releases security updates that will be automatically installed overnight. All of you have upgraded to Microsoft Update so you get patches for Office programs and you have Automatic Updates turned on, right? (If you have Windows Live OneCare, you’re covered.) […] continued

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COMCAST OUTAGES

I have a bit of downtime while I wait for my Comcast connection to come back to life. It was out Sunday for an hour or so, which might (or might not) have been a side effect of this major East Coast weekend outage. This morning it went down at about 11am and hasn’t come back yet. […] continued

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THE FUTURE OF GRAPHICS CARDS

Wrestling with a black screen drew my attention to the world of video cards and computer graphics.

Vista’s pretty visual effects – translucent borders, 3D flipping through windows, live thumbnail previews of windows from the taskbar and the like – come with a price. Something on the computer has to work hard to deliver all those visual effects to the screen. […] continued

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NET NEUTRALITY EXPLAINED

At its heart, “net neutrality” involves a simple question: Should your Internet provider have any control over how you use your Internet connection? You’re accustomed to being able to reach any Internet site freely and you assume you can run any kind of program that uses an online connection. AT&T and Comcast and the rest don’t necessarily agree. […] continued

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BLACK SCREEN (WITH CURSOR)

Spent a few hours chasing down a problem with my office computer last night. It’s just remarkable how many ways our computers can go wrong, isn’t it? Honest, I would gladly give up much of my job security if it meant our technology would work more reliably.

The symptom: the computer starts up and presents a login screen; when the name and password is entered, the screen goes black and stays black, with nothing except a mouse cursor that moves around quite happily. […] continued

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FONT MYSTERIES

Sharp-eyed Microsoft Office users might have noticed that the default fonts are changed in Office 2007. The old familiar names are still there – Arial, Times New Roman, Verdana, and Courier New – but the defaults are newcomers Cambria, Calibri, and more.

Microsoft had originally proposed standardized fonts for the Internet in 1995 and built Arial, Times New Roman, and several more deeply into Windows XP and Microsoft Office. […] continued

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RANDOM OUTLOOK 2007 NOTES

When I set up a new computer these days, I spend almost no time describing new features in Windows Vista – people are generally able to start using it right away with a minimum of fuss. Outlook 2007 is so similar to Outlook 2003 that I don’t even mention that it’s a new version. […] continued

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