‘Service pack’ installation could be confusing

By Tom Difrancesca: Internet Safari

The long awaited “Service Pack 2” for Windows XP has finally been released, not without problems though.
If you’ve got a good bit of computer experience, then installing the service pack shouldn’t be all that difficult. For most typical users though, it could end up being a royal pain.
There are a large number of applications (programs) that just seem to balk at the changes made by this latest release from Microsoft, especially for corporate users.
For those who like a challenge, you can install the service pack through “Windows Update;” download the file as a whole (over 250 megabytes), and then install it; or you can order the CD-ROM from Microsoft. The CD is free but could take up to six weeks to be received.
If you’d like to educate yourself on computer security, Microsoft has created a “Security at home” section on its Web site. Just jump over to
www.microsoft.com/athome/
security/default.mspx
to get educated.
If you are wondering whether or not you should install Windows XP Service Pack 2, just haul yourself on over to
news.google.com
and then type in “sp2” (no need to include the quotation marks) in the search box. You’ll find plenty of useful information to base your decision on.
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It seems to me that for every convenience, for every timesaving step that computers and the Internet afford us, there always seems to be a “booby-trap” or two show up.
Since we are on the subject of software updates, I’ll go a little deeper. You’ll notice that when you run “Windows Update” there is a section called “Drivers.”
That section is Microsoft’s attempt at making sure you are using the latest driver for any devices you have installed on your computer. What Microsoft does for device driver updates, the Version Tracker service at
www.versiontracker.com
does for over 30,000 software programs.
The service makes sure you are running the latest version of software. Running the newest version, in most cases, assures that you are getting the best performance and the most features from that software.
The most basic option offered at this Web site is free and then there are two additional options that come with paid subscriptions.
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Are you ready for some virtual traveling? In the past, I’ve written about 360-degree photographic images called “panoramas,” viewable using the Apple Quicktime plug-in for your Web browser.
One of my most popular Web destinations is the British Tours Ltd. Web site at
www.britishtours.com
But now, I’ve got another great site to add to my “Favorites.”
This one even offers (if you have broadband access) full-screen panoramas so clear and crisp they will blow your mind.
Can you tell that I’m impressed? You will be also if you go to
www.panoramas.dk
and start exploring.
One of my favorite virtual destinations is the view from the summit of Mount Everest.
Crazy thing about the Internet isn’t it? We don’t have to exert any energy, take any chances, take time off from work, or spend lots of money, and yet we can practically stand on top of the world and get the same view as all of those die-hard adventurers have had when they reached the summit.

Tom DiFrancesca III is a freelance columnist and a former resident of Clovis. He can be reached via
www.trackertom.com