Windows XP Safe and Secure?

Written by Richard Lowe

Microsoft has come under fire lately because of their habit of releasing software which has serious flaws, most especially problems with security. Unfortunatelyrepparttar criticism is justified and verges onrepparttar 133571 criminal: flaws (implementation bugs as well as just plain silly design decisions) have resulted in literally tens of billions of dollars in damage and losses worldwide.

Don't believe me? Think of all ofrepparttar 133572 viruses that have devastated not hundreds, not thousands, not even millions, but tens of millions of systems. All of these viruses are allowed to "breed" (spread) because of one ofrepparttar 133573 silliest, misguided, downright stupidest decisions ever made by a major corporation. This wasrepparttar 133574 addition of email scripting - without that incredibly powerful and almost totally unused (and many would argue not necessary) feature viruses could not spread in a matter of days or even hours. Since when does anyone need to script their email program anyway? I've never heard of a single person or corporation using this feature legitimately.

On top of this kind of issue (and there are several others), Microsoft's products tend to have blatant bugs - problems in programs which should have been caught by adequate design, testing and quality assurance. The most famous of these is probablyrepparttar 133575 series of bugs that led to Nimda and Code Red. Again, millions of systems were damaged and countless millions of man hours were wasted in efforts to eradicate these issues.

The firestorm that landed on Microsoft as a direct result of these and other problems and issues was fantastic to behold. Naturally Microsoft responded, trying desperately to reducerepparttar 133576 impact on their business. They claimedrepparttar 133577 problems were with administrators who did not apply patches, with people reporting problems too early (thus giving hackers information before fixes were complete) and any number of other problems. It seemed that everyone except for Microsoft was doingrepparttar 133578 wrong thing - of course,repparttar 133579 mighty Microsoft could do no wrong.

In spite of whatrepparttar 133580 left side of their face was saying, Microsoft did introduce some changes. They announced a new security service to help keep systems locked down and system administrators happy. Automatic security patch downloads were added to Windows XP and, I'm sure, dozens of other changes happened.

Withrepparttar 133581 release of Windows XP, Microsoft was adamant that they had tested it from top to bottom. The software giant even claimed it had written a special program to check forrepparttar 133582 nastiest kind of software problem - buffer overflows. You see, a buffer overflow is one ofrepparttar 133583 most common ways for a hacker to breakrepparttar 133584 security of a system. It does this by writing some code beyondrepparttar 133585 end of where it is supposed to write it. The code is then executed in privileged mode to giverepparttar 133586 hacker entrance to repparttar 133587 system.

Well, a short time ago Microsoft released a patch to Windows XP to fix exactly this problem. It seems there is a buffer overflow problem inrepparttar 133588 UPnP service. Whatrepparttar 133589 heck is UPnP, you ask? That's a good question.

UPnP is a special plug-and-play service. What is plug-and-play? Well, when you install a new device on Windows XP it automatically detects it and configures it for you. Plug-and-play is a very nice feature, and it works very well in Windows XP.

Product Review: Paint Shop Pro

Written by Richard Lowe

Many years ago I needed to create some graphics. Nothing fancy, just some images for documentation at work. I had used several graphics programs inrepparttar past, none of which really didrepparttar 133570 job that I needed. I wanted a simple interface, a lot of power, and most important of all, I didn't want to spend halfrepparttar 133571 day waiting forrepparttar 133572 graphics program to catch up to me.

I considered Adobe Photoshop, but soon realized it was priced way over my budget. So I kept looking, and before long found a great product called Paint Shop Pro. I downloadedrepparttar 133573 evaluation version, and quickly realized that I had found a gem.

Paint Shop Pro supported everything that I needed, including layers, vector and bit editing modes, a magic wand, and dozens of other functions. The program also supports Photoshop filters, brushes, patterns and far more other things than I have even bothered to explore.

What I like about Paint Shop Pro is simple:repparttar 133574 program is very fast (even on a relatively slow machine) and it's inexpensive (less than a hundred bucks). It also has some very nice features, and I believe that PSP (as it is affectionately known by many of it's users) has a larger user base than Adobe Photoshop (this is at least true amongrepparttar 133575 webmasters with whom I communicate).

Now, keep in mind that I've never really used Adobe Photoshop much. Just a one week training class and half a dozen graphics for a manual that I had to work on (at one of my consulting jobs many years ago.) So I cannot say that Paint Shop Pro is better or worse thatrepparttar 133576 Adobe product.

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