Stories by Brian Livingston

Ahoy, RSS Enterprise

Inventor Charles Kettering once said, "My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there."

Ready for RSS?

What if your company were making major changes to the way it communicates, but you never got the memo? Something like that is happening with RSS (really simple syndication), a web-based subscribe/publish protocol.

Is there an echo in here?

I reported three weeks ago that the Windows Update routine had been changed by Microsoft so that it now uploads your Product ID number and a list of your installed hardware.

Enterprise update

To those of us who live in the Windows environment, it sometimes feels like a warm, familiar blanket. But with all the patches we have to apply, it looks more like a crazy quilt.

Windows file update

I reported last time that the Windows Update routine was quietly changed a few months ago to upload to Microsoft your Product ID and a list of your hardware. Prior to the change, Microsoft merely downloaded a list of all available fixes. Your PC then figured out which ones you didn't have without sending any data back to the software giant.

What Windows XP knows now

Remember how your mother used to say, “Wear clean underwear because you might get hit by a bus”? Nowadays she might say, “Clean your PC before you run Windows Update.”

Patch your passwords

I wrote two weeks ago that upgrading from Internet Explorer 5.x to 6.0 wipes out Windows Media Player's ability to open password-protected files. You've typed the correct password, but Media Player can't submit it to the remote server. (See Media, play thyself.)

Speed cleaning

Any time I can help you do something faster and better in Windows, it makes my day. Today's tip is an undocumented feature that can help you save disk space and save time, too.

Media, play thyself

I hate it when an upgrade that was supposed to solve my problems actually winds up causing me new ones.

Tips for free

I can't tell you how many times I've searched the web to study a Windows problem and then found pages saying something such as, "Start the Registry Editor and delete anything you think you don't need".

Explore, yes; print, no

A TV station that broadcasts near the Microsoft campus features a popular clown whose website includes a page called The Amazing History of JP Patches.

Restoring Windows Me sanity

Reader Paul Remeis sent in such a good description of a problem that can affect Windows Me and XP that I’m going to let him explain it before I weigh in:

Patch and probe

The beginning of a new year is a great time to catch up on new information sent to me by my readers. I'll take the opportunity to update you on a few important changes that relate to previous columns.

Escaping Xbox fees

Microsoft recently released the long-awaited internet gaming service for its technically rad Xbox hardware. The Xbox Live Starter Kit, which includes a year of online multiplayer service and some trialware games, sells for around $US50, but you can get most of this for free if you know where to look.

The email scandal

A new study has found that 11.7% of messages that were requested by an email subscriber never reached the recipient's inbox. Six percent were incorrectly routed to a junk mail folder, and 5.7% never arrived in any form.