Thursday, March 27, 2008

Windows XP and Vista Service Packs

Windows XP
Microsoft has released a "refresh" of Release Candidate 2 of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. This is another way of saying it is still in Beta. The folks at Microsoft indicated that the final version of SP3 will be available by July, but have not yet set a firm date. They are waiting on customer feedback about the Beta versions.

You can download SP3-RC2 if you want to be a Beta-tester, but I would not recommend it on a computer that you need to depend on for everyday use. You can find it on the Microsoft download site.

Vista SP1 Released
Microsoft released Service Pack 1 for Vista for public download/installation last week. It is generally recommended that users apply this update, BUT, I recommend that you let it run in the wild for a month or so before installing it. Watch the news, and listen to feedback from other users who have installed it first. Microsoft has a track record of having "gotchas" in its first service packs for its new Operating Systems.

There are news reports that some Vista computers cannot successfully complete the SP1 update due to device driver problems. (There are several other causes of the SP1 update failure, but most of them seem unlikely.) Here is a link to Microsoft's site pertaining to the SP1 update failure.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Call in questions March 6, 2008

Apple Mail Problems
Eli called in with a problem in which he cannot make deleted messages disappear from his Apple Mail program. We found a post on the web about this. Hope it helps...
Let us know if it works.

Outlook Express Spell Checks in French
If you install Office 2007, spell checking in Outlook Express will not work as expected, unless you want spell check in French. :) This is because Office 2007 uses new proofing tools and OE can't use them because it's designed to use the older tools.

There are four fixes for this problem.
  1. Reclaim Your Inbox! Use Thunderbird email. It is free, easy to install, simple to use, and it has an automated wizard to import all of your mail, address books and settings from outlook express. (It's also more secure than Outlook Express.)
  2. If you are married to Outlook Express, one of the next three options might be for you...
    1. Install the English Proofing Tools from your Office 2003 CD (this is likely to cause problems with Office 2007--so you have been warned)
    2. Install a third party spell checker for Outlook Express. This seems arcane, as OE should be able to provide this tool on its own. Here's Microsoft's suggested fix...
    3. If your Office 2007 includes Outlook 2007, install it and migrate your mail to it. See this article for instructions.
Guess which one the IT Guys prefer...

Windows Updates Won't Stick
Several folks have called with this problem lately. Windows is set to download updates and install on shutdown. It appears to be doing it, but next time the computer is started, the updates are there again.
The most likely problem is that the windows update system is messed up (dope slap, that's obvious!!!). Here's a couple of links that describe this process happening because a windows repair process:
Both have instructions for fixing the problem. See if they fit your situation. Let us know if this resolved it for you.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Rip the Knob Off

Back in February, a called asked how to "rip the knob off" his digital radio so he could lock it into to 91.7FM KAXE. Since digital radio tuners do not have knobs per se', we may have to get creative.

Chad suggested programming all of the pre-set buttons to 91.7FM. This way, no matter which one you hit, you should get KAXE. This could be problematic if other people use your radio. They could reset the buttons.

Dan has a more creative approach. He uses pop bottle caps, and tapes them over the buttons so other folks cannot use the buttons to make changes. This photo shows the cap in place to prevent volunteers from screwing up the digital phone settings. On your radio, set the tuner buttons to 91.7FM KAXE, then cover them up with an attractive green cap.

It's not fool-proof, as prying fingers can remove the cap. But it will prevent accidental station changes. Give it a whirl, and send us a picture of your application of the "KAXE Station Lock".