Stories by Brian Livingston

  • Sneaky service packs

    Windows users are steaming over the terms in Microsoft's new Service Pack 3 for Windows 2000, which was released on August 1, and Service Pack 1 for XP, which is in beta but will probably ship this month.

  • WINDOW MANAGER: Adobe's copywrongs

    People who live in Adobe houses shouldn't throw lawsuits. That's a lesson we've learned from the FBI's arrest of Dmitry Sklyarov, an employee of Moscow-based ElcomSoft, a company that easily defeated the security of Adobe Systems' PDF e-book.


    In a development that could dramatically change the ability of companies to get support for Windows, more than half of all MCSEs (Microsoft Certified Software Engineers) worldwide seem likely to lose their certifications by the end of the year. This is due to a Microsoft requirement, announced late last year, that those that have passed its NT exams must now complete new Windows 2000 exams by December 31.

  • We can prevent DDoS attacks

    The attacks that hobbled Web sites Yahoo, Etrade Group, and CNN earlier this month sounded a warning: secure your PCs or be subjected to similar attacks in the near future. The Web attacks, technically known as distributed denial of service, or DDoS, were launched primarily from Solaris and Linux machines that had been compromised.

  • Missing your favourite Power Toys?

    Two of the handiest giveaways Microsoft programmers ever created for Windows users are Power Toys and Kernel Toys. These toolkits - 15 utilities in the Power Toys set and another six in the Kernel Toys set - were developed by the Windows 95 `shell' team and `kernel' team, respectively. Microsoft posted them for free on its Web site soon after Windows 95 was shipped, and they must have been downloaded millions of times by now.

  • Win commands help automate downloading

    Every day, the Internet is becoming more influential to the way business is done. You might think that some of the Windows tools used to transfer files across the Net would be easier to find and use.

  • Arm yourself with security alerts

    It seems that every week brings a new security threat to our Windows PCs and networks. The latest one, which became an issue just last week, involves a "digitally signed" Java program that affects Compaq computers and possibly others.

  • Standard for music industry signalling big changes?

    There have been many words written about the recording industry's new digital music standard, which was released on July 13. But I haven't seen much about the implications for the computer industry itself. Could this new music standard be a precursor of big changes for PC software?

  • An update on IE 5's peculiarities

    Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) 5 is now a standard part of Windows 98 Second Edition, Microsoft Office 2000 and other Microsoft products. As an upgrade to Version 4.0, IE 5 is billed as having many improvements - but it also has its share of anomalies.