Wednesday, 15 December 1999

Newsletter Issue 3, December 1999


Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 3, December 1999
Hi guys,
OK - well, as you can see, there's enough info for newsletter number three. Thanks for your positive feedback on how  useful this has been - I'm just glad to spread the "brainiac" stuff around. 
The theme of this newsletter is new developments – and there is some AWESOME stuff coming our way over the next few years. But first, another Y2k "must do" for all of you. Check out Y2K Update below and Windows 2000 Release


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Y2K Update

ll Microsoft users, for the latest information on Y2k, go to http://www.microsoft.com/y2k. There is a CD that you can subscribe to that you can run on your PC to check that all your systems are compliant.

If you run the report, be careful not to assume - as I did- that all the items that come up "Compliant (Prerequisite Required)" were OK. These in fact often require downloading a patch (or a small fixer file) many of which are in fact supplied on the CD.

You can call to order the Y2k Resource CD from Microsoft - at no charge - on 0800 673 892. It's worth doing a quick check to ensure a trouble-free rollover.

Windows 2000 Release

For those of you wondering when Windows 2000 is going to hit the streets - the wait is over. A firm New Zealand release date has been set for February 17th 2000.

I understand that the major changes in Windows 2000 include Intelli-Mirror technology for synchronising data from laptop to server, a new application server, and advanced clustering and load balancing. Windows 2000 also  natively supports Internet-enabled applications and provides superior reliability and centralized desktop and server manageability. Most of which you guys won't be too worried about.

However, other multimedia technologies have received an update in Windows 2000. It now includes a decoder for MPEG Layer 3 (MP3) audio, and the CD player utility has been improved with the addition of Internet support, so that details of songs and artists can be automatically retrieved from online databases. 

There's also enhanced support for plug and play, Universal Serial Bus, power management, infrared and wireless devices, as well as providing new capabilities such as offline folders to access important information even when disconnected from your network.

The infrared stuff should make you perk up your ears - I love those new cutsiepie infrared intellimouses in funky colours with no umbilicals..

New Developments


The next 10 years look really exciting with MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) researchers getting into seamless communications and information technology with a new project, combining aspects of cellphones, pagers, faxes, computers, palm pilots & notebooks, sound systems and TV.
Called Project Oxygen – because they want to make the technology as pervasive and accessible as oxygen – the aim of is to bring internet communications and resources to every person, in every location on the planet.
To achieve this, there are three system components;
  1. “Raw” Chips, which aren’t hard wired to run set applications – they can morph to suit any use. This will mean the death of specialist chips – and maybe the death of much of the cost involved
  2. Raw Chip Applications - kind of like Java
  3. REALLY intelligent speech recognition
These components are already being worked on by MIT geeks. What they intend to do with all this have a three-tiered approach to the hardware;
  1. A personal, portable unit called a Handy 21, which would be the size of a current cellphone. It has a colour screen, a raw chip and an aerial. It will be whatever you ask it to be –cellphone, TV, computer, fax. No keyboard. No mouse. Just ask, and the genie must obey
  2. A bigger, more powerful unit at the base/home/office/conference called an Enviro 21. This unit has a large wall-mounted screen; and you would programme your life into it – when you want to be disturbed, programmes to tape on TV, call screening, power savings, light dimming & romantic music… grocery ordering and bill payments – ah, the life of bliss… The physical stuff such as a closed door means do not disturb is achieved through infrared tags on physical items
  3. Then the big potato is the Net 21, linking all the Handy 21s and Enviro 21s on the planet, and hooking into the internet
The aim is – speak to your Enviro 21 in your lounge, call a conference with your suppliers, your consultants, lawyers, accountants and customers; wherever they are in the world, linked through their Handy 21s or Enviro 21s; in Sarajevo, at the top of l’Tour Eiffel, sunbathing at Pohara. During your meeting, call up files you need, analyse and trap data while you speak, check out leads and e-mail the completed contract to all participants at the end of the video meeting. Not bad.
10 years, they say. Factor that in to your asset upgrades. Check out advances on http://www.lcs.mit.edu/anniv/press/oxygen040799
Well. To factor in with that lot - the first true video phone prototypes have just been announced, by NEC. With wireless connection, internet and data access, data transmissions are up to 100 times higher than current rates. 
The new phones use a 2 component approach with the video screen, microphone and video camera on the hands-free,base unit, and the phone unit itself being portable. You can leave the base unit on your desk and poodle off with the cellphone. 
The communication technology is the IMT-2000; the "next generation" in mobile communications. You can try the NEC website for updates on http://www.nec.com, but I warn you - it's an absolute rabbit warren when you want to find anything.

Nano-Bytes

Be very careful if sending "save as" Word documents to people; i.e. new documents based on older ones. If the recipient of your doc is not a Word user, and once they convert the document, they may be able to see all your revisions - including possibly confidential information from the document you "saved as" on. Tricksy stuff, huh? 
Also a bit nasty is Excel - you hide columns, cell-protect and send it... but again, if converted, all your data/calculations/costings lie bare for the recipient to see.  Take care. Only send new docs with finished data if you don't want all your secrets shown. 
Always copy stuff to a new doc/spreadsheet to avoid these wee pitfalls!

Short+Hot Keys... and now tips
  • Word "Help" F1 
  • Word "Move Text" F2 
  • Word "Auto Text" F3 
  • Word "Redo or Repeat"      F4 
  • Word "Go To" F5 
  • Word "Other Pane"          F6 
  • Word "Proofing"       F7 
  • Word "Extend Selection" F8 
  • Word "Update Fields" F9 
  • Word "Menu Mode"         F10 
  • Word "Next Field" F11 
  • Word "Save As"        F12
Hot Linx
Whatever you wanted to know for free - consult the 20th C version of the Oracle at Delphi at the Encyclopedia Brittanica website; http://www.britannica.com. And it's a damn-sight cheaper than the non-cyberspace hardcopy versions of the books - USD $1250!
For any of you with a passion for the Scots elixir of life, a must see is...  http://www.scotch-whisky.org.uk/frame.htm
Looking for new fonts to brighten up or broaden your presentations? This is one of the best sites on the web for free fonts at http://www.1001freefonts.com/index2.html
Another yellow pages site - this time it's the US on http://www.yellowpages.com/
For any of you searching the internet for that elusive site that you can't track down - use Ask Jeeves - a search engine that searches search engines! I find that I get THE best results here; http://www.askjeeves.com/

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here