Email Bag

Critical Updates Are Important
From: Maury Rahe (
To: The Editorial Board
Subject: Re: March 03 Hal-PC Magazine

I have just read the letter to the editor on page 4 which ends in "No more [critical] updates!!!!"

While I realize that you are not the author of the letter, I do feel that you have done a major disservice to the computing community by printing that part of the letter with no comment, thereby giving implicit approval to the sentiments expressed therein.

I am perfectly aware that installation of update files can cause problems. They have also caused me grief. However, the solution to the problem is also not in ignoring critical updates.

That attitude is short sighted, irresponsible, and a direct cause of the mindboggling success of worm attacks that repeatedly bring the Internet to its knees.

When critical updates are out there and patches are not applied, then it is only a matter of time until that user's computer will be attacked and will fall prey. When that attack comes, not only will the individual suffer, but all the rest of us who inhabit the same cyberspace will have to deal with the consequences of that user's inconsiderate attitude.

"If everyone else uses a prophylactic, then I won't have to" just doesn't work. Shame on you for not clearly and unequivocally saying so.

Aggravating Cheap Modems
From: Cal Wainwright (

Please use this in the email bag.

I have just gone through six months of total aggravation because of cheap modems.

I bought an HP computer that came with an Aopen 56k modem. When I would start a download (@ 46k connection) it started with a satisfactory speed, but quickly degraded to as low as 700k per second.

I then purchased a $15 Lucent 56k modem. After installing it I not only experienced the same problem as above but additionally had numerous disconnects from my web connection. I incorrectly blamed the disconnects on the HAL-PC Internet service.

I called HAL and spoke with "Bob the modem guy" who pulled my web log and agreed that my numerous disconnects were unusual.

After trying several unsuccessful hardware adjustments, Bob suggested I buy a US Robotics modem. He opined that most computers, on sale, will contain the cheapest components available.

I bought a US Robotics 56k V92 Faxmodem, Model 5699B, for $39 from Circuit City. After installing it and logging on to the Internet, I couldn't believe the difference. It was like night and day. I now get constant speed downloads without any disconnects until I am ready to log off.

I can't thank the HAL volunteers enough for their patience, and knowledge, in solving our computer problems. If you have a computer problem, give them a call. You will be glad you did.

Sony DVD Burner
From: Phoenix User Group Member
Subject: DVD still has a way to go

I have just read your article, "Has DVD Come of Age?" [reprinted from HAL-PC Magazine, February 2003] in our Phoenix PC Users Group newsletter. Since I have been in the market for a DVD RW it was timely and interesting. In fact, I purchased the Sony 500AX just last Friday. However, my experience installing it was not good and I think anyone interested in DVD burners should take heed.

When I tried to install the supporting software I got an error message. The installation program was looking for a file SETUP.EXE on the C drive. I have a dual boot system and there is no such program on the C drive. There was a button to browse for the program but the installer did not pay any attention to my selection of a program by that name on the system drive. I phoned Sony tech support and the answer was a shock. I was told that the installer had to be run from the C drive. That's it! I was offered no way to install the software with my operating system located anywhere else.

I am returning the drive today for a refund.

Missing Macro
From: A Reader
Subject: word macro to fix SDI

In an article a while back, you referred to a macro located at that would subvert the Word SDI and restore the appearance of MDI. But - it's gone. Do you know where I can scare up that macro or something similar?

Editor's Note: The original link has been removed, but the macro to Toggle Word Windows in Taskbar (WD2K-MDI.ZIP) can now be found at Read about this problem in more detail in this month's "Latest Trumors" column.