[Paleopsych] VV: At Your Service Pack by Brendan I. Koerner

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The Village Voice: Machine Age: TechLove With Mr. Roboto: At Your
Service Pack by Brendan I. Koerner

[General interest article.]

    TechLove With Mr. Roboto
    by Brendan I. Koerner
    At Your Service Pack
    Medicine, please: Microsoft's big fix just sent my computer to the
    September 23rd, 2004 4:50 PM

    Q: I recently installed Service Pack 2 on my Windows XP machine, and
    now the system's gone all screwy: Internet Explorer won't display
    animations right, I can't play WarCraft III, and Yahoo Instant
    Messenger is toast. Is it just me, or is Service Pack 2 nothing but a

    A. Mr. Roboto's been deluged with SP2 gripes since Microsoft released
    the fix back in August. Count yourself blessed that you've only
    experienced some performance quirks; there's been many a horror story
    of deleted drivers or system files, leading to wiped hard drives and
    the like. You can try a few tweaks to smooth things out, though truly
    righting the ship might require going back to square one for a

    Now, don't get the impression that SP2's all bad. Aside from closing
    some gaping security holes, the massive patch also beefs up XP's Wi-Fi
    capabilities, adds Bluetooth support, and installs a fairly effective
    pop-up blocker. You can probably survive without installing SP2, of
    course, but Mr. Roboto's going to err on the side of caution and say
    it's worth the effortespecially for you broadbanders out there, who
    make tasty prey for hackers. (Feel free to install SP2 if you're a
    dial-up user, too, but don't download it; rather, order the free CD
    from [59]microsoft.com.)

    Before you installed SP2, you should've give your system a thorough
    cleansing. Spyware, in particular, can muck up SP2, so it's imperative
    that everyone run either Spybot ([60]safer-networking.org) or Ad-Aware
    ([61]www.lavasoftusa.com) first. It's also good to sanitize your
    storage areas, by right-clicking on all your hard disks, selecting
    Properties, and hitting the Disk Cleanup button.

    Above alland Mr. Roboto hates to be a broken record with this
    adviceyou must, must, must back up your system before installing SP2.
    That means downloading all your documents and personal data to an
    external hard disk, and using Norton Ghost or a similar program to
    take a "snapshot" of your settings.

    Okay, so you've got SP2, and things are amok despite your best
    efforts. For starters, if you have applications that are acting up,
    check out article 884130 on Microsoft's Knowledge Base
    ([62]support.microsoft.com) for a list of programs that get agita from
    SP2. A lot of antivirus scanners, firewalls, and multiplayer games
    don't work right with SP2. Microsoft says that it's dealing with these
    compatibility issues and that the blacklist should shrink considerably
    in the coming months.

    The big problem seems to be that, with SP2 installed, the Windows
    Firewall is switched on by default, and is overly wary of programs
    that request Internet access. Rather than fiddle with the built-in
    settings, Mr. Roboto recommends that you turn the firewall off
    entirely, and opt instead for ZoneAlarm ([63]zonelabs.com), which is
    much smarter and easier to contol.

    As for those Web animations and Yahoo IM, sounds like it's a case of
    SP2 turning off ActiveX by default. Not a terrible idea, as ActiveX
    can be a good way for malware to infect your system, but a real bummer
    if you're, like, trying to IM someone. Easy enough to fix, thoughjust
    go to the Security tab under Internet Options, and customize the
    ActiveX settings to your liking.

    Worse comes to worst, you can always just uninstall SP2 and try again.
    Just don't touch anything in the Add/Remove Programs panel that says
    "Hotfix." Do that, and you're in a world of pain. The bad kind of

    Catch a spark

    Let us sing the praises of Firefox, shall we? Firefox is Mozilla's
    latest open-source Web browser, and it's a doozya much quicker worker
    than Internet Explorer, and much more immune to the menace known as
    spyware. Also, Firefox's pop-up blocker is more agile than IE's
    latest. Snag the free download from [64]mozilla.org, import your IE
    bookmarks and page-view history, and you'll become a convert right


    Congrats to Wikipedia ([65]wikipedia.org), the world's largest
    encyclopedia, for garnering its millionth entry. It's an all-volunteer
    affair, you realize, and they don't accept ads, either. Won't you be a
    saint and kick them over a few bucks during their pledge drive? Visit
    [66]wikimediafoundation.org for the details; pledge enforcement vans
    are standing by to shake you by the ankles.

                        [67]bkoerner at villagevoice.com

    [68]Letter to the Editor   |   [69]E-Mail Story   |   [70]Voice
    Newsletter   |   [71]Printer

    Recent TechLove With Mr. Roboto columns

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      [75]Times Squared Beware the deals in NYC's land of lights, where
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      [76]Cowhide Logic Not asking for much? Gateway's cheap laptops are
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      [78]An iPod for Your Eyes Portable video looks great, and in a
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      [79]TXTmobs take on the GOP Protesters spend real bucks, save real
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      [80]Real American Zero Twenty bucks a month for dial-up is too much,
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      [81]Fossil Fool Palm pilots head for Jurassic Parkand that means
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   59. http://www.microsoft.com/
   60. http://www.safer-networking.org/
   61. http://www.lavasoftusa.com/
   62. http://www.support.microsoft.com/
   63. http://www.zonelabs.com/
   64. http://www.mozilla.org/
   65. http://www.wikipedia.org/
   66. http://www.wikimediafoundation.org/
   67. mailto:bkoerner at villagevoice.com
   68. http://www.villagevoice.com/aboutus/letters.php
   69. http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/sendmail.php3?eid=57080
   71. http://www.villagevoice.com/print/issues/0439/koerner.php
   72. http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0439/koerner.php
   73. http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0438/koerner.php
   74. http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0437/koerner.php
   75. http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0436/koerner.php
   76. http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0435/koerner.php
   77. http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0434/koerner.php
   78. http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0433/koerner.php
   79. http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0432/koerner.php
   80. http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0431/koerner.php
   81. http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0430/koerner.php

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