Disadvantages of Windows 98 and 98SE

Many years ago, I wrote about the disadvantages of Windows 3.1 because I started noticing people searching for that. Now, I see people asking the same question about Windows 98. I spent 9 months of my life ripping Windows 98 apart and putting it back together again and writing about it, so I know it well.

As much of an improvement as Windows 98 was over Windows 3.1, it, too, is feeling the effects of time. Windows 98SE was the best of the Windows 9x series (better than its successor, Windows ME), but there are better things to run today.

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How to secure a computer like a spook

A link to the National Security Agency’s (NSA) guidance on hardening operating systems has been floating around various blogs today. But the NSA’s guidance on configuring Windows 7 and other recent operating systems is, to put it mildly, a bit incomplete.

What one government agency doesn’t do, another probably does. That’s usually a safe assumption at least. Enter the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). If you want to harden recent Windows operating systems, visit http://iase.disa.mil/stigs/index.html for guidance.
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Do tablets cut into PC sales?

I see multiple reports that PC makers are seeing tablets cut into the sales of traditional PCs.

The two items don’t compete directly, but when consumers have limited disposable income, I can see them either buying a less-expensive PC so they can also buy a tablet, or hanging on to an aging PC another year or two in order to afford a tablet. If you already have a PC, and it works well enough, the second strategy certainly can work. Tablets are a new big thing, and we’re still coming out of a recession, so everyone isn’t flush with cash right now.
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How Windows knows if your network requires you to visit a web page

This is a nice writeup on how Windows Vista and Windows 7 know whether you have an active Internet connection and whether you need to visit a page in your web browser to activate it. It also talks about the privacy implications, and how to set up the service to use your server, rather than Microsoft’s.

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LED is the future, but I don’t think it’s here yet

San Jose Mercury News columnist (and fellow Mizzou alumnus) Troy Wolverton has been testing LED bulbs. His conclusion: The quality of light is good, prices will continue to fall and efficiency will continue to improve, so they’re the future, but the future isn’t here yet. Update: I think it is now.

I’m always trying to wring the last bit of value out of my utility bill dollars, so I’ve been watching this closely. And I agree.
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Traditional baseball uniform numbers

We were watching How Do You Know? on DVD this weekend, and I had to point out something that wasn’t realistic. The main characters were pitchers for the Washington Nationals, and a pitcher warming up was wearing number 8. Pitchers don’t wear number 8, I said.


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How to use Sticky Keys to change/unlock a forgotten password

This isn’t a particularly new trick, nor did I invent it. But it’s a good trick for breaking into a Windows system when you don’t have a lot of tools at your disposal, and have legitimate reason to do so–like a lost or forgotten local administrator password. I’ve talked about some of those reasons before. I’d also add someone locking themselves out of their own computer to the list. It happens, just like people locking themselves out of their cars, or their houses.

Not every writeup I’ve seen of this trick goes into what I would call sufficient detail. So I’ll take a shot at it.

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Don’t use gadget buyback programs

MSNBC consumer reporter Bob Sullivan does a thorough analysis of how gadget buy-back programs work, and why you shouldn’t use them.

There’s no need for me to rehash everything that’s wrong with them, because Bob covered all those bases admirably. I’ll just run through his hypothetical scenario and tell you what you should do instead.
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