Law Changes Daylight Saving Time – Takes Effect 2007

This year will be the first year for the new Daylight Saving Time
start and end dates to go into effect. Instead of starting the first
Sunday of April, it is now the second Sunday of March. It is March 11
this year. Instead of ending on the last Sunday of October, it now
ends the first Sunday of November. It is November 4 this year.

Microsoft is NOT providing patches for automatic updating of older
versions of Windows. Even Windows 2000 Pro and Server are too old for
this. Other Microsoft programs, such as older version of Outlook and Exchange are also affected. You will need to make sure that any Microsoft programs you use, that rely on dates are eligible for an update, or require more money for the latest version.

The law to change the start and end date of Daylight Saving Time was passed a couple of years ago. For the majority of computer users in the U.S. and Canada, this may be an inconvenience. If you have Windows 98, ME, or 2000, Microsoft will not provide an update for the automatic changing of your PCs clock on the new dates.

There are two options:

1.) Live with it and change the time manually. This is inconvenient if you have a lot of PCs and Servers to update. This can also lead to data issues. Some databases can have synchronization issues if the time on the PC and the time on the server are different. This will require diligence on the part of users.

2.) Use the Time Zone Edit utility provided by Microsoft, or use one the the available third party programs for correcting the Time Zone. NOTE: The tzedit.exe provided by MS does not work with Win9x. Here is the KB article with more information.

The End of Pegasus Mail?

Due to financial difficulties, it appears that the end is near for Pegasus Mail.
While Pegasus has some great features, and is free, it is limited to Windows. This also raises the question of whether or not Pegasus users will be able to easily convert to other email programs. While most email programs can probably handle importing from Pegasus, there are also utilities to aid one in moving from Pegasus to other mail formats.

There are two good utilities, while Windows based, run well in Wine, or in various virtual machines on different operating systems. Both are developed by Fookes Software, Aid4Mail and Mailbag Assistant.

Both are able to convert from one email format to almost any other desired format. Aid4Mail can save messages to MHT format, for ease of viewing in a web browser. Mailbag Assistant is an email archiving and search utility. One can reply to or forward an email in any email box, using one’s current email program.

There is much more to both programs, that will help those with lots of email, from any program move to other formats. Both preserve the original mail files, so the conversion, is really a new set of files. These utilities make it very easy to investigate different email clients if one wants to experiment. Both are fast and can handle very large numbers of email messages.

Sleeping Squirrel

Yesterday was a gorgeous day and I spent it doing chores in the yard.

The boys spent the day avoiding doing chores in the yard. 😉

I sat down to rest about 2:30 in the shade of the house on the deck.

I looked up and saw this squirrel eating the buds on the tree in the neighbor’s backyard behind us.

A short time later, I looked up and saw that the squirrel was laying sprawled on a branch, with its legs hanging over the side of the branch. I had never seen a squirrel do this, so I grabbed my digital camera and zoomed in all the way. I have cropped it to show the squirrel, and make it smaller for email.

Now that I have the picture on my PC, it seems that the squirrel was just resting, since its eye appears to be open.

This was just too cute not to share.

Happy Easter!

Sleeping Squirrel

The End of Support for Win98, Win98SE, and WinME?

I just saw this article:

http://www.computerworld.com/

It references the horse’s mouth here:

http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifean18

Update June 9, 2006: Win98, Win98SE, WinME support ends early. See this article: http://blogs.technet.com/msrc/archive/2006/06/09/434300.aspx.

This is both a good and bad thing. It will help minimize the number of Windows OSes one needs on hand to support clients, but is bad, because good PCs that will run Win98, will not run Win2k or WinXP. Viruses and spyware will have a foothold on the net for years to come because of the technically ignorant, or those without the cash for a new PC.

Many of the computers that run Win98 are still very useful. For these computers, a move to Linux, which is fantastic for extending the lifespan of “obsolete” hardware, will now be a more viable option. With the end in site for security updates for the worst issues in Win98, those that want to use their PCs on the internet will need a viable alternative.

Win98 is still in use not just in homes, but in many small businesses and non-profit organizations. Even though a new WinXP Home PC can be purchased for $500.00 or less, if you do not have $500.00, it is a lot of money. Especially if all you do is documents, spreadsheets, email, and web surfing.

Kairos Computer Solutions can help if you have an older PC running Win98 or WinME, and are not in a situation for a new PC. We can help you determine if your current PC is a good candidate for running Linux.

Internet Explorer 7 Beta

Microsoft has released Beta 2 of Internet Explorer 7 to the public.

Unless you are comfortble with potential problems, it is recommended that you NOT install IE 7. IE 7 is already known to cause problems with some anti-virus programs, and to not work with some online banking, and web mail applications. A mahore security issue was also announced today.

IE 7 is limited to users with Windows XP or newer, so the majority of Windows users will not be able to use it.

For a simpler, and smaller browser, try Firefox or Opera. Both are standards-compliant and fast, and have tabbed browsing, and are free.

Disappearing Close Button on MS-Windows Task Manager

Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows 2003 all have a Task Manager. It can easily be reached by pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL, and then clicking the Task Manager Button.

I have seen client’s computers that do not have the close button, that is the boxes with the line, box, and X in the top right-hand corner. Without this, you cannot close the Task Manager Window, and it stays on top of anything else on the screen. Re-booting seems to be the only way to close the window, but if you bring up the Task Manager again, it is still missing the buttons, and the tabs.

Various web sites I found in researching this suggest Registry edits, and all kinds of other complex solutions.

There is a very simple solution that I figured out all by my lonesome, but is hopefully in the MS Knowledge Base (If it is, it is not very high on the list of Google searches.). The solution is the same thing that causes the “problem” in the first place.

Double-click below the gray line that runs across the screen below the menu and above the tabs will cause the “problem”. Double-clicking in this same area gain fixes the “problem”.

The following screen shots illustrate the before and after when this “problem” is caused.

Task Manager Before

Task Manager After

Table of Windows and Linux Equivalents

If you want to know what software is available on Linux that meets the needs of your software on Windows, then check out The Table of Equivalents/Replacements/Analogs.

I have my own list of software that works on Windows and Linux on my Favorite Software Page.

If you do a little research, you will find that almost all Linux programs have been ported to Windows and many other Operating Systems, and they look and function the same way with only minor differences. Firefox, Thunderbird, and Open Office are three very well-known examples of this. One way to prepare for future explorations into Linux, is to use the Windows versions of software to get your job done. Almost all are free, and work just as well as the Microsoft equivalents, and often better, and usually more secure.

Linux Printing Scorecard

While I believe that Linux is mostly ready for the desktop, there are a few rough edges. Some hardware is just not useable or easy to use with Linux. Printers are items that you will want to investigate before jumping headfirst into Linux. If you cannot print, your PC may be next to worthless. Like other hardware, if the manufacturers do not make drivers, or provide specs so the Open Source community can develop drivers, the hardware may be a paperweight under Linux.

From my experience, most USB devices just work in Linux. The exception is printers. If a printer is specifially designed for Windows, there may be no way to get it to work with Linux. For example, I have a Lexmark Z23 ink jet printer that came with a PC I bought 4 years ago. Lexmark is semi-friendly to the Linuz community and provided a Linux driver. I was able to crudely print using Red Hat 7.2, but once I upgraded to Red Hat 8, then 9, and then Fedora Core 3, it will not print. The OS recognizes that the printer is there, but none of the work arounds on the net work. When I try to print, it ejects a sheet of paper. This kind of printer keeps me tied to Windows, and the need for a dual-boot PC, so I can print.
To avoid headaches, LinuxPrinting.org has assembled a Linux Printer Scorecard of various makes an models and how well they work with Linux.

Check this list before going whole hog with Linux. It is less painful to learn you may not be able to get your current printer to work BEFORE you make the switch.

The simple rule of thumb is if it is a cheap printer that is bundled with a cheap PC, and the ink costs more than the printer, it probably will not work with Linux. The Linux Printer Scorecard will tell you what others have experienced and which printers in your price range are easiest to get working with Linux.