dec 2007 newsletter

Top 15 Biggest Technical Disappointments, by PC World Magazine

Hitting the #9 spot, something which myself and some PCNS customers are experiencing, is the new, perplexing look of Microsoft Office 2007.  Industry insiders called the new ribbon toolbar a stumble backwards.  After why take something which users have learned for ten years (remember Office 97 10 years ago) and change it?   It wasn't just my imagination seeing the blank stares at the dramatically changed Microsoft Word, by seasoned Office Managers and secretaries.  The new "ribbon" has spawned a new industry of software developers, wanting to augment the drastic changes Office 07 throws at us.  A website specializing in Microsoft Word states the new ribbon interface was written for programmers, not for writers.

PCNS recommends Office 2003 if you don't want the drastic changes.  You'd have to buy it from various software clearance outlets, as Dell and IBM have stopped offering Office 2003.

You can download and install the Office 2007 compatibility pack which will enable Office 2003 to read the new DOCX, XLSX, and PPTX files created by Office 2007.  If you want Office 2007, PCNS recommends waiting until the first Service Pack.  During the past three months Office 2007 installed on 10 Dell and IBM laptops, it seems to crash more than it should - a lot more than seasoned Office 2003.

PC World Article
Classic Office 2003 Menus for Office 2007 ($30)
Making Word 2007 a little more familiar

Windows XP Service Pack 3 Boasts Speed Boost

Topping the year's most disappointing product, from PC World, above, was Windows Vista.   "Five years in the making, and this is the best Microsoft could do?"  Meanwhile, an independent software tester has revealed the forthcoming Windows XP Service Pack 3 from Microsoft is 10% faster than Service Pack 2.  Meanwhile, the pre-release candidate of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 offers no performance improvements.  That could change upon the final release.   Meanwhile, a fellow competitor from the Plano Chamber, The Computer Wizard, offers a service to downgrade your PC from Vista back to Windows XP.  PCNS can offer this service if absolutely needed, but PCNS recommends sticking with Vista, as this can run into the hundreds of dollars.

Texas DOT Auto Burglary 2007 Holiday Outreach

While it's common knowledge to hide or carry your electronic valuables, while shopping during the holidays, or anytime, for that matter (laptop computers, Mp3 players, GPS locaters) what you may not know is you should never carry your vehicle registration receipt in your private vehicle.  You must carry this if your vehicle is Commercial.  Burglars can use this information to burglarize your home.

Texas DOT 2007 Holiday Tips

Hacker gets 110 years for Threats on MySpace

Ivory Dickerson, a civil engineer, gained remote access to their computers, giving him the ability to type words onto their screens.  He was arrested last December after girls at Rockledge High School told authorities their MySpace profiles had been hacked into and the person on the other end was demanding revealing and pornographic images.

Hacker gets 110 years

Hackers control PC's while Users Unaware

It took a technician 8 hours to remove malware which was propogating to other users Instant Messaging clients.  "Computer security experts estimate that tens of millions of personal computers are infected with malicious software like the one that attacked Locklear's machine.  Such programs, generally classified as malware, attack companies along with consumers."

Washington Post Article

Transunion to Offer Credit Freeze in all U.S. States

Beginning next month, Transunion will offer a credit freeze on your account.  A credit freeze prevents businesses and potential fraudsters from probing your credit history.  Equifax and Experian don't offer this service, so in states where credit freezes aren't possible (Kansas, Mississippi, and South Dakota, to name a few) your credit history is still accessible without restrictions.  In Texas you can freeze your credit at all three bureaus.

Washington Post Blog
Consumers Union Article

Jammie Thomas fought the Law, and the Law Won

Thomas was the first person to fight back all the way to a trial.   Six major record companies accused Thomas of offering 1,702 songs on the Kazaa file-sharing network.  The trial focused on 24 songs.  On Thursday, jurors decided Thomas willfully violated the copyright on all 24 and recommended she pay damages of $9,250 per song, totalling $222,000.

USA Today Article