Computer Knowledge Newsletter – March 1998 Issue

In This Issue:

Virus News

Trojan Horse Disinfector. Dr. Solomon’s has announced the addition of an AOL password-stealing Trojan Horse disinfector to its FindVirus product (FindVirus has been able to find these since early 1997; the download is required to remove the Trojans from your system). FindVirus is the core scanner used by Dr. Solomon and a copy is available for free evaluation at Dr. Solomon’s web site (, on AOL (keyword: VIRUSINFO) and on CompuServe (GO DRSOLOMON). The Trojan disinfector is also available as a free download at these locations. The disinfector is an add-on to FindVirus. [Update: Dr. Solomon’s is now part of Network Associates.]

DFI Motherboard Music. If you have a computer with a DFI motherboard and start to hear music coming from the computer’s speaker, you don’t have a virus; you have a hardware problem. Check out: Link at which you’ll find a description of their Damage Free Intelligence (DFI) system that plays a warning tune if certain hardware problems are detected. Users have heard the music, thought they had a virus, scanned the disk to no avail, and even reformatted the drive to no effect at removing the “virus.” So, don’t be fooled. If you have one of these motherboards and start to hear music, start looking for hardware problems (processor, heat sink/fan, or power supply).

General Security

Stolen Computer Registry. There is now a free web resource one can use in the event your computer equipment is stolen (or you suspect someone is trying to sell you stolen computer equipment). Nacomex (http://www.nacomex.comWeb Link) has set up a web-based database of stolen computer equipment serial numbers. You can register stolen equipment so that law enforcement can check equipment they find or search for serial numbers of equipment you may be buying.

Information of Interest

Year 2100 Problem? Excerpted from the American Megatrends (“the world’s premier BIOS provider”) web site ( Link):

Year 2000 compliance means that the internal BIOS date and time clock will continue above the date 1999. It will not reset itself after 1999 to the date of 1980. It will continue to the date of 2099 before resetting to 1980.

Bank Holiday? Speaking of Y2K items, banks are starting to feel the pressure. They are even considering asking that 12/31/99 be considered a bank holiday so that they have the day to make certain their systems work properly. New Years Eve in that year is a Friday so the idea has merit and the government is said to be considering the idea.

Sept 99 Problem? While we’re on date problems, there is one more to keep a watch on: 9 September 1999. The problem here is that this date might resolve to 9999 in some applications, and a sequence of nines has been used by some programmers to indicate either an unknown entry or some other special situation. So, on this date, it’s possible (in rare cases) that some long-dormant diagnostic routine just might surface where not expected.

Laptop Now Carryon. Delta Air Lines has announced that laptops will now be counted as part of carryon luggage as of 15 April. In the past, laptops were not counted in the two-bag limit; as of next month they will be counted. The company said this will only apply to regular flights and not the Delta Shuttle. Expect other airlines to follow suit.

Free Microsoft Software. InternetWeek (16 Mar 98) reports that Microsoft is offering its Outlook 98 groupware client free to everyone for 90 days (Outlook 97 and Exchange Server users will get a free upgrade regardless of when they obtain the product). There will be no charge after the 90 days have run but anyone obtaining the product after that time will have to pay up to $109 per copy. Outlook 98 is scheduled for release at the end of March, so if you wish to take Microsoft up on their offer check their web site ( Link) starting in April. (If you prefer having the product on a CD there will be a $9.95 handling charge.)

Why would Microsoft give away, even for a short period, part of its Office product? Think market penetration against Lotus and its Notes/Domino platform.

Outlook 98 supports HTML formatted E-mail, IMAP4, LDAP, NNTP, POP3, S/MIME, iCalendar, vCalendar, and vCard. It is a full-featured E-mail and news client with the capability of managing your entire schedule and address book/client list. But, be careful if you try it. If it operates like Outlook 97 (which Computer Knowledge uses), when installed it will try to take over all of those features from any other standalone program(s) you might have. Some system reconfiguration may be necessary if you want to keep using existing software for certain tasks.

In closing: If you need to distribute HTML pages with graphics take a look at the Trellix site (http://www.trellix.comWeb Link). They have a free utility that packages a local HTTP server and web pages into a single EXE file that feeds pages to your local browser. This is one of Dan Bricklin’s ideas (Bricklin was the power behind the first spreadsheet, VisiCalc). Look for parts of the CK site to be served up this way soon. [All parts of and are now produced and maintained using Trellix.] [Update: Some portions of both sites are being maintained by FrontPage in 2000. And, in 2001 I’m converting everything to Dreamweaver. And, now in 2006, CKnow is maintained using CityDesk by Fog Creek Software. Finally, in 2009 I changed to Website Publisher by Interspire. Finally, in 2013 I’m converting to WordPress.]