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Windows-Help.NET Newsletter09 Jan. 1999, Vol 2 No. 2

 What's in store in 1999?

by Arie Slob

Dear Windows-Help.NET subscriber,

As I promised last week, this week we'll take a look at what 1999 has in store for us insofar as the PC/Windows world is concerned. I don't have a crystal ball, but it's not hard to foretell that 1999 is going to be a very exciting year.

For one thing there are important and far-reaching legal proceedings to watch.

The first one is the U.S. Government vs. Microsoft. The trial got underway again on the 4th of January, and on the 6th, the Government presented its last witness, economist Franklin Fisher.
In the meantime, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson went on record noting that the AOL-Netscape merger could have an impact on the competitive landscape. He also asked both sides if they would call AOL's CEO Steve Case to testify. There has been no word on this from the U.S. Government or Microsoft, but one has to remember that both are allowed to call two rebuttal witnesses at the end of the trial.
If you want to keep up with the proceedings in more detail, visit the IT Works Web site, where Patrick Van Renterghem has assembled a very good links page.

The next trial to watch is Sun vs. Microsoft. U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte ordered the two companies to work out their differences with respect to the different approaches taken by the two companies to allow Java work with native code. Both companies agreed that they would try...

Then there's a new trial to open in February: the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) vs. Intel. The chipmaker was charged last June with having used its monopoly in the microprocessor market to deny three of its customers (Compaq, Digital Equipment and Intergraph) access to technical information which these companies say they need to develop products based on Intel's chips. This case also has a much broader impact on the industry as a whole, because it focuses on the issues of intellectual property rights vs. compliance with antitrust law.

Could Linux Kill Windows NT?

That's a question some people are asking. For this to occur, companies need to be more comfortable with Linux. This can only happen if quality technical support becomes available. There is some movement in that direction, with both Caldera and Red Hat offering a commercial version of Linux with nationwide (US) support. Another requirement would be for Tier One applications to be available for the Linux platform. As reported in last week's Newsletter, this is beginning to happen. The thorniest issue, however, will be the acceptance of a standard interface. This goes directly against the whole underlying concept of Linux. I doubt that the core Linux community, which is made up of Unix geeks who think that a graphical interface is for "pussies", will agree to a single standard. But just imagine if it did happen and Microsoft was forced to give away Windows NT for free... Hmmm... maybe it's time to start thinking about selling that Microsoft stock.

And PC hardware?

There are many interesting things to come.... For example, we just might finally see Flat Panel Displays take off. These have been widely touted for quite some time, but now that prices are dropping, the point may be near where they will start appearing as a standard PC option.

Of course there are many more exciting developments to come, but there isn't the space in this newsletter to cover it all. I will be keeping my eyes and ears open, though, and I'll continue to report on emerging trends. Stay tuned...


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Microsoft Office 200 Pricing
Microsoft has released pricing details for Office 2000, keeping costs in line with current Office offerings. Microsoft is also offering a "free"* upgrade to Office 2000 for users who purchase Office 97 between now and the second-quarter launch date of Office 2000.

* According to MS, free means that you still have to pay S&H...


Dual Monitors with Windows 3.1/95/NT?
Windows users who don't want to upgrade to Windows 98, but who would want to have the dual monitor capability of Windows 98 should check out the products of Tridium Research, Inc.


Case Study: Improving NetWare to Windows NT Migration
"After weighing the benefits of upgrading to the next version of Novell NetWare or migrating to Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0, the company chose to migrate. This article explains the decision to use Windows NT Server and the lessons learned during the migration. The procedures and tips described here should be useful to system professionals in many medium - to large-sized companies with older networking operating systems."


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Industry related news headlines

  These pages were added/updated in the past week:

Pages added/updated on the Windows 98 site:

General Windows 98 Information:
Updated: Windows 98, Multiple display support

Updated: Problems Accessing Windows Update

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  Microsoft Releases Y2K Tools

Microsoft is finally offering some Year 2000 (Y2K) tools to their customers, but these tools are meant to be supplemental to other firms' offerings. The tools include a Y2K Product Analyzer, which will scan a user's hard drive to test Microsoft products for Y2K compliance, pointing to updates available on the Web site to bring products to full compliance.

The Product Analyzer will be available for free at Microsoft's Web site in the near future.

Already released are three Excel tools:

The Date Migration Wizard [315KB] is designed to help users find instances where date-related arguments are referencing text dates that only specify the last two digits of a year. More information can be found in the Readme.txt for the Date Migration Wizard.

The Date Watch Wizard [185KB] is an add-in program that runs in the background while you work and does the following:

  • Suggests alternatives when you enter text dates that are year-ambiguous.
  • Suggests alternatives when you type certain worksheet functions and the text dates in the functions are year-ambiguous.
  • Changes number formats to four-year date formats when you type two-digit dates.
  • Displays an alert when you open text files that contain two-digit years.

More information can be found in the Readme.txt for the Date Watch Wizard.


The Date Fix Wizard [242KB] allows you to manage dates more effectively by giving you the means to do the following:

  • Change all date formats that display years as two-digit years to formats that display years as four-digit years. Note that this change lessens the ambiguity that is associated with two-digit years because you can easily see the century in which the years fall.
  • Modify serial number dates so that they fall within a specific century.
  • Create a report of previously saved workbooks that contain dates

More information can be found in the Readme.txt for the Date Fix Wizard.

According to Microsoft: "The Date Fix Wizard, Date Migration Wizard, and Date Watch Wizard are helpful for year 2000 auditing, but running these tools does not guarantee year 2000 compliance. For more information about how Microsoft products are affected by year 2000 (Y2K) issues, please see the Microsoft Y2K Web site.

The add-ins discussed in this article are provided "as is," and Microsoft does not guarantee that they can be used in all situations. Although Microsoft support engineers can help with the installation and existing functionality of these add-ins, they will not modify the add-ins to provide new functionality."