Friday, January 8, 2010

Social Networking: Does it Destroy Relationships or Can it Save Them?

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Vol. 9, #86 - Sep 1, 2009 - Issue #394



 Social Networking: Does it Destroy Relationships or Can it Save Them?


  1. Editor's Corner
    • Social Networking: Does it Destroy Relationships or Can it Save Them?
    • Follow-up: Yep, it's legal
    • Quotes of the Week

  2. Cool Tools
    • Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

  3. News, Hints, Tips and Tricks
    • Office Web Apps tech preview delayed
    • There's an app for that - and you don't need an iPhone to use it
    • A true dual screen laptop: expensive novelty or the Next Big Thing?

  4. How To: Using XP Features
    • How to prevent CAPS LOCK frustration in XP

  5. XP Security News
    • Twitter users beware: vulnerability still exists
    • The most dangerous celebrities to search for on the web

  6. XP Question Corner
    • How to use Remote Desktop to connect over the Internet to your XP Pro computer

  7. XP Configuration and Troubleshooting
    • Managing remote access to the registry
    • Underlines are missing in documents printed with XP SP3

  8. Fav Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

  9. Product of the Week
    • Classic Menu For Word 2007: Replaces the Word 2007 ribbon with the familiar Office 2003 Toolbar!






Kiss Your Antivirus Bloatware Goodbye

We asked users of antivirus products what they didn't like about their AV software. They told us they are resource hogs and slowed their computer down. They told us that scan times took way too long, and that the AV software nagged them. In short, old-style AV software takes too much Memory and CPU. Time to switch to VIPRE! It gives you malware protection that combines antivirus, antispyware, anti-rootkit and other technologies into a seamless, tightly-integrated product. Even if you run "free" antivirus software, it hijacks 20% of your PC, so it's really not free at all! Get VIPRE now and see how fast your PC can really be:
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/090901-VIPRE





 Editor's Corner

Social Networking: Does it Destroy Relationships or Can it Save Them?

As popular as social networking is, something that's even more popular among writers is writing about all the dangers that come with participating in it. I've done it myself: one of my recent articles for TechRepublic, which has been reprinted in a number of places, was dedicated to the ways people get in trouble using SN sites:
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/090901-Social-Networking-Trouble

And there's no doubt that mixing up business associates, family members and old college buddies in one place can have volatile results, not to mention the perils of finding out more about some people than you ever really wanted to know. Some go further than just cautionary advice. This past week, the Wall Street Journal, in their business section, published an article by Elizabeth Bernstein titled "How Facebook Ruins Relationships."
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/090901-Facebook-Ruins-Friendships

The gist of that article is something the author calls "Facebook Fatigue." One of her comments brings up something I've noted in the past: social networking makes us much more transparent to those we choose to approve as "friends." And that can be beneficial to the friendship - or detrimental. If you're in the habit of using the "little white lie" to get out of doing things, you'd best be careful. Don't tell your aunt that you can't drive her to the store because you're going to be working in the garden and then spend the day uploading photos to your Facebook site if said aunt is one of your FB friends - or even if she's not, but other family members who know both of you are. Don't tell your boss you can't come to work because you're flat on your back in bed with the flu and then while away your "sick" hours posting pithy comments on your Wall if anybody at all in the company is part of your friend feed.

Most of us who use SN sites have at least one or two friends who post constantly throughout the day, the most trivial things: "I brushed my teeth and now I'm going to bed." Okay. I like you a lot but I really don't care about your dental hygiene habits or bedtime schedule. Your mom, who adores you and lives 1000 miles away, might be thrilled to hear about each and every thing you do, but it's important to remember who else is listening. Maybe that particular message would be more appropriately sent to mom in a private message or email.

Then there are the posts that are anything but boring. A recent Facebook posting was copied and sent all over the Internet in email recently, wherein a woman named Tracy supposedly "wrote inside the wrong box" and posted a very graphic sexual message to someone named Michael on her public Wall. I'm not going to post the URL because the language is pretty raunchy, but if you haven't seen it already, a search for "Facebook Fail" will find it for you. There has been much discussion over whether the post was real, along with claims that someone else hacked into the woman's account and made the post. Whether that particular instance was genuine or not, it's highly likely that someone has indeed made that mistake. That's one reason my "10 Ways to Stay Out of Trouble" article notes that you should never post to social networking sites when you're under the influence of alcohol - or anything else that's intoxicating, including your own emotions.

Of course, we've all heard about the ways that social networking sites can be harmful to marriages and other romantic relationships. New friendships with mysterious new members of the opposite sex can make a spouse nervous at the least, outright jealous at the worst. Even without the jealousy factor, there can be disadvantages to having our spouses read all our status updates - or reading theirs. A month or so ago, MSNBC Today published an article titled "Reasons to 'Unfriend' Your Spouse on Facebook":
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/090901-Unfriending-Your-Spouse

The premise of that article is that seeing your spouse's mundane posts every day can take the excitement out of your marriage. It's written by a "relationship counselor" but apparently he doesn't take into consideration at all the reaction that many people would have to being suddenly "unfriended" by their husbands or wives. Given the insecurities that many people suffer from, it is really realistic to think you that could say "Honey, I'm unfriending you to put the mystery back in our relationship," without the other person at least wondering in passing just what you're up to on the social site that you don't want him/her to see?

Something I haven't seen anybody mention yet is the ways in which social use of the Internet can be beneficial - maybe even actually save marriages. I know that when in my first marriage, I had nowhere to turn when my husband and I had the usual marital spats. I didn't want to spill my guts about our personal problems to my friends and family members, but it was also difficult to go do something with them to get my mind off it, since I was afraid my demeanor would show that I was upset about something. So mostly I sat alone, ruminated about it, and felt worse and worse. That might not be the reason the relationship only lasted three years - there were many other factors, including our youth - but it certainly didn't help.

Since Tom and I married almost fifteen years ago (after meeting online), the Internet has been an important part of our lives. When we have an argument and I'm feeling lousy, I can "get away" and "do something with friends" without having to try to paint on a fake smile. In earlier days, I would lose myself in mailing list discussions; today I can immerse myself in what's happening on Facebook. Soon I'm laughing at one of Laura's off-the-wall comments or admiring one of Jeff's landscape photos or getting into a political discussion with Larry instead of sitting around feeling misunderstood and lonely. I don't take my own passing problems so seriously or perseverate over them so much, and the storm clouds pass much more quickly. Apparently it works, because our arguments are never very serious or long-lasting these days. Sure, that can also be attributed to a growing maturity on our parts as we get older, but having a "place" to go and other people to interact with certainly helps, too. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's saved our marriage, but I firmly believe it's made it better.

And it's not just when we're having a marital spat that it can be good for us to have friends in cyber places. When I'm feeling silly and overprotective for worrying about my son being way over there in Europe for the first time, and Tom doesn't really understand those feelings, I can post about it on my Wall and within minutes, I have sympathetic responses from a dozen other moms who assure me there's nothing abnormal about my reaction. A few days ago, when I was a bit perturbed because Tom's plane disappeared from the flight status displays when it was late, I used my phone to post about it from the airport and was comforted by my friends' expressions of concern. And it certainly makes me feel closer to the people, some of whom I've never met in person, who have taken a moment out of their lives to help me through a rough spot in mine.

What do you think? Is social networking bad for relationships or does it strengthen them - or is it a wash? Do you think a marriage requires more "mystery" than social networking allows? Do you think it's a good or bad idea to "unfriend" your spouse? Do your Internet friendships play an important part in your life or do you view people online as not quite as "real" as those with whom you have face-to-face relationships? Do you get bored with people who post mundane details of their everyday lives, or do you just skim over it and see it as part of being a friend? We invite you to discuss this topic in our forums at
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/090901-Forum-Discussion


Follow-up: Yep, it's legal

In last week's editorial, we discussed the question of whether a much publicized "hack" to extend the evaluation period for Windows 7 is a violation of the EULA. For those of you who wanted to try it out but were concerned about the legality, there's good news. Microsoft says yes, it will work with the final version of Windows 7 and no, it's not a EULA violation:
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/090901-120-Day-Trial

As for intellectual property laws in general and some of the related topics I brought up in the article, a lively discussion ensued on the forum discussion board. Many readers believe the DMCA goes way too far and that the law is being abused by the movie and music industries. Some readers say that piracy can raise the prices for everyone, and methods for combating it, including copy protection technology, may keep prices down. Others believe that the anti-piracy technologies themselves are keeping prices artificially high.

And as Minnesota Slim said, it's not so much the idea of making copyright violation a crime that is the problem, but more the outrageous penalties that are involved where the punishment doesn't seem to fit the seriousness of the crime. For those who don't read the forums, please check out the article he mentioned called "Seven crimes that will get you a smaller fine than file-sharing." While the other crimes listed are mostly state statutes and thus vary from one state to another, it's generally true that much more serious crimes can carry far lower monetary penalties. In my state (Texas), the maximum fine for a first degree felony (which includes murder) is $10,000. Of course, that's in addition to imprisonment up to life, whereas the federal crime of copyright infringement carries a maximum prison sentence of five years.

One great point that was brought up was the usefulness of home user site licenses like Sunbelt offers for VIPRE. People might not be so tempted by illegal copies of software if they felt they were being charged fairly, especially in the case of using it on multiple computers. Businesses have long been able to purchase licenses for multiple machines that provide a volume discount, and as Compdok commented, this is something that has been long overdue for home users.

Thanks to all of you who participated in the discussion on this topic.

'Til next week,
Deb Shinder, Editor
feedback@wxpnews.com

Follow Deb on Twitter

PS: Did you know this newsletter has a sister publication called VistaNews? You can subscribe here, and tell your friends:
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/090901-VistaNews

And for IT pros, there's our "big sister," WServer News, at
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/090901-WServerNews

Join the WXPnews Fan Page on Facebook!
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/090901-WXPNews-on-Facebook


Quotes of the Week

A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill. - Robert A. Heinlein

If pigs could vote, the man with the slop bucket would be elected swineherd every time, no matter how much slaughtering he did on the side. - Orson Scott Card

Civilization rests on the fact that most people do the right thing most of the time. - Dean Koontz






Keep The Bad Guys Out With The Sunbelt Personal Firewall

Why do I need a firewall? Together with antivirus and antispyware, a firewall is a "must" to protect your computer. PC Magazine gave the Sunbelt Personal Firewall a "Very Good" rating with 4 Stars and a conclusion of "good protection". Check out the Reviews on the site and it will be clear why you need the Sunbelt Personal Firewall to protect your PC. One good example: Unlike the Windows XP and Vista Firewall, you can tell the Sunbelt Personal Firewall to look carefully at the data leaving your browser, so that sensitive information like your credit card numbers, email address, bank account, social security number and PIN code do not get stolen by hackers!
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/090901-SPF





 Cool Tools

Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

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Replace the horrendous Word 2007 ribbon with familar Office 2003 functionality. Try Classic Menu For Word 2007.
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PC Tune-Up: 4 Easy Steps That Eliminate Frustrating Slow Computer Problems:
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/090901-PC-Tune-Up

Registry First Aid 7.0 - New Release Is Faster, Safer and Even More Effective
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/090901-Registry-First-Aid

Improve your English writing skills with WhiteSmoke a smarter solution for high quality writing. Download the free trial version here.
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Rip DVDs for your iPod/iPhone or Apple TV. Bundle includes video converter too! Try it free!
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/090901-Cucusoft

Unclog Vista! Advanced Vista Optimizer will tweak Vista for Max performance. Easy to use:
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 News, Hints, Tips and Tricks

Office Web Apps tech preview delayed

We were looking forward to the technical preview for Microsoft's Office Web Apps, positioned to compete with Google Apps, at the end of this month. Unfortunately, it looks like we'll have to wait a little longer. The final release is set to correspond with the release of Office 2010, but when will we get our first taste of the web version? Microsoft says "soon." Could you be a little more specific? Read more here:
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/090901-Office-Web-Apps


There's an app for that - and you don't need an iPhone to use it

The Apple ads like to brag about all their "apps" (even though Windows Mobile users have access to more applications and can get them from a plethora of different sources, unlike iPhone users who are locked into the Apps Store). Now Microsoft has created software called OneApp that will allow owners of "dumb phones" to easily run applications, as well. Read more here:
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/090901-Cheap-Phones


A true dual screen laptop: expensive novelty or the Next Big Thing?

I'm used to my multi-monitor setups at home - I have one system with three screens and another with two - so when I go on the road, the thing that bugs me most about working on a laptop is the limited screen real estate. Now it seems there's a solution - but it comes at a high price. A new laptop called the Spacebook has two monitors that slide out and then back in together for carrying. It's an innovative idea, but at $3000, it may not sell like hotcakes in today's economy. Still, if the idea catches on and other vendors copy it, prices are sure to fall. It's something I'd definitely consider if it were about $1000 less. Check it out for yourself here:
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/090901-Dual-Screen-Laptop





 How To: Using XP Features

How to prevent CAPS LOCK frustration in XP

I occasionally get mail from people who are frustrated because, due to their keyboard layouts or their own typing style, they are constantly hitting the CAPS LOCK key without intending to do so. If you never use it and it just gets in your way, you can disable it. You can manually edit the registry to disable it or you can download a .reg file to do so automatically:
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/090901-Caps-Lock

If you don't want to disable it, another solution to the problem is to turn on Toggle Keys:

  1. Click Start | Control Panel
  2. In Classic View, click Accessibility Options.
  3. In the dialog box, click the Keyboard tab.
  4. Click the ToggleKeys box to check it.
Now when you hit CAPS LOCK, you'll hear a beep so you won't go blithely on typing in all caps. When you hear the beep, just hit CAPS LOCK again to go back to normal lowercase typing. Note that ToggleKeys also sounds a beep when you hit Scroll Lock or Num Lock.




 XP Security News

Twitter users beware: vulnerability still exists

According to this article in eWeek, in spite of Twitter's efforts to patch a cross-site scripting vulnerability that could allow a hacker to take over your Twitter account, it's still open. That means someone else could make posts under your name. If you "tweet," be sure to read this:
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/090901-Twitter-Vulnerability


The most dangerous celebrities to search for on the web

If you like to keep up with what's going on in Hollywood, be careful when you do web searches on celebrities' names. You'll frequently find that web sites using the names of the rich and famous are laden with malicious code. McAfee reports that this year, the most dangerous malware was found in searches for Jessica Biel; last year the "honor" went to Brad Pitt. To find out which other celebrities rate among the "most dangerous," see this article:
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/090901-Celebrity-Web-Search





 XP Question Corner

How to use Remote Desktop to connect over the Internet to your XP Pro computer

QUESTION:
I have a Windows XP Professional computer that has Remote Desktop enabled. I can connect to it, no problem, from other computers on my home network. But I want to be able to connect to its desktop from my laptop when I'm traveling, over the Internet. Is this possible? If so, what do I need to do? Thanks! - Jim B.

ANSWER:
To use Remote Desktop over the Internet, you need to know its public IP address. This is not the 192.168.x.x or 10.x.x.x address that it probably uses on the local area network. You can find out the address by typing ipconfig at the command line. One problem is that the public address may change. Many broadband providers use dynamic addressing, whereby they assign a new address from time to time. As long as you remain connected, the address probably won't change, but if you disconnect from the Internet and then reconnect, you may get a new address. For a fee, many providers will assign you a static address that always stays the same.

Another solution is to use a dynamic DNS service such as TZO (www.tzo.com). For a monthly or yearly fee, they will notify the DNS servers when your address changes and update the DNS listing (matching IP address to name). This way, you can use your domain name instead of the IP address to connect via Remote Desktop. You'll need a registered domain to use this method.

Once you know the public IP address or have a registered domain name with a dynamic DNS service, you just enter that information in the Remote Desktop Connection dialog box and you should be able to use your computer over the Internet just like you do from other computers on your local network.





 XP Configuration and Troubleshooting

Managing remote access to the registry

Windows XP's registry editor allows remote access to the registry, but for security reasons, you might want to restrict this access. You can edit the registry to restrict access from a remote computer by following instructions in KB article 314837. It also tells you how to bypass those restrictions for services that need remote registry access in order to work properly. Find out more here:
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/090901-Remote-Access


Underlines are missing in documents printed with XP SP3

If you print a document in Word on a Windows XP SP3 computer (or a Vista computer) and find that it prints correctly the first time but on subsequent occasions, any underlines in the document are not printed, this may be because you've turned off the "print in background" setting in Word options and are using an HP Universal Print driver. If you're experiencing this problem, there's a hotfix for it. Find out how to get it in KB article 969744 at
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/090901-Missing-Underlines





 Fav Links

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

Disclaimer: WXPNews does not assume and cannot be responsible for any liability related to you clicking any of these linked Web sites.





 Product of the Week

Classic Menu For Word 2007: Replaces the Word 2007 ribbon with the familiar Office 2003 Toolbar!

We haven't found more than a couple fans of Office's new Toolbar Ribbon. Since the new look and feel most folks have trouble easily finding the old keystrokes or features that they learned over time.

If you are among the majority of Office users who are frustrated to no end then we may have found the solutions to your office toolbar headaches in several great products. Download evaluation for the Word Ribbon Tool Bar replacement and others here.
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/090901-ClassicMenu




 About WXPnews

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