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.

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.

Mistaken identity. As part of a series I wrote last September on problems with Windows patches, I said installing XP's service pack 1 shuts down your ability to switch between different identities when using Microsoft Outlook Express.

Reader John Galus writes that Microsoft recently released an update to Outlook Express 6.0 that corrects this problem and fixes several other glitches caused by OE's own service pack 1.

The free download and an explanation of the changes is here.

Information exchange. Speaking of XP, there's been a lot of concern about information that the OS might or might not be sending to Microsoft about the use of your PC.

There are many ways to monitor what your PC's sending across the internet, but reader Randy Leist says he's particularly partial to a free but full-featured program called Network Probe. It runs on Windows NT, 2000 and XP, as well as Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris and Mac.

Tipsters Galus and Leist will receive a gift certificate for a book, CD or DVD of their choice for being the first to send me comments I've printed.

Telephony or just phony? I wrote early last year about Microsoft's Smartphone software -- a bid to make Windows the dominant OS on the new generation of full-colour cellular handsets.

Beating Microsoft in the market so far is Symbian, a platform that's been adopted by every major cellphone maker, including Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Panasonic.

This is important because the cellphone is the new PDA. Handhelds such as Palms and Pocket PCs sold 12 million units in 2001, but 400 million cellphones were bought that year. Ka-ching!

At the time of my earlier column, the only serious MS Smartphone maker was Sendo, a British startup. Remarkably, Sendo switched to Symbian, then filed suit against Microsoft last month. The suit alleges that Sendo trade secrets somehow got to another Microsoft partner, Taiwan's High Tech Computers (HTC). The evidence? In October, just before Sendo's first Smartphone was to ship, European cellular carrier Orange came out with a similar phone made by HTC.

The suit reveals that Microsoft has a contractual right to gain a royalty-free licence for Sendo's technology if the latter firm files for bankruptcy. That may come soon, the documents say, because Microsoft has withheld $US14 million in payments.

Microsoft executives have declined interviews on the suit. But Reuters a few weeks ago quoted officials as saying allegations of misuse of Sendo's proprietary information were without merit.

Send tips to contributing editor, Livingston. He regrets that he cannot answer individual questions. Send letters for publication in Computerworld to Computerworld Letters.

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Tags Window Manager

More about Ericsson AustraliaHigh Tech ComputersHTCLinuxLivingstonMicrosoftMotorolaNokiaOrangePanasonicReuters AustraliaSendoSonySony EricssonSymbian

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