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Reader Comments on Aardvark Daily 25 Jan 2001

From: Peter Jenkins
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Scanning for Hotfixes....

Futher to your comments this morning about MS scanning for
hotfixes etc - If you are really worried you could fork out
US$600 odd dollars and get a package to do it for you:

www.sunbeltsoftware.com/product.cfm?id=355

This product is MS Certified, so I guess this is their
answer to this problem??





From: Tasha
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: MS Word docs vs PDFs

If I was asked to create a document that would be
accessable to the widest range of people, I would put it in
PDF, or perhaps RTF, never as MS Word Doc.

Some problems have already been pointed out:

1. security - face it, most users don't have up to date
antivirus software if they have any at all, nor do most of
them have a policy of deleting unknown/unexpected
attachments on sight.

2. available software - there are free readers for PDF vs
none for MS Word as far as I am aware.

But the biggest issue for me is:

3. appearance - PDF allows the author to create a document
that will appear the same no matter what platform they are
using.  As opposed to MS Word where the appearance of a
document can vary from version to version let alone platform
to platform, if it is available on the platform you happen
to be using at all.

I use MS Word on both Mac and Wintel and I like it. It is
what I would choose to use to create a document that would
eventually become a PDF. But it is either ignorance or
arrogance to expect the person on the recieving end of a
document as an attachment or on a web site, to have MS Word
and the right version at that. Ever tried opening MS Word
2000 with an early version of MS Word? - it's not a pretty
sight, it's even worse when changing platforms.

It is more reasonable to expect that a user may have to go
and download a free viewer than to expect them to already
have MS Word or to go out and purchase an expensive program
just so they can look at your documents.




From: Michael Smith
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: MS Patches

 re: "I would think, given the new licensing system that
makes it mandatory to register your software (or it stops
working), Microsoft has little excuse not to take a more
agressive stance in ensuring that sites running their
software are "up to scratch"

 You aren't serious are ya Bruce, if you are, I'm wondering
why you haven't asked Ford to make sure all people driving
their cars get a proper WOF done.

 See how Ridiculous it sounds ?




From: James
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Entrepreneur to look after Microslop boxes - youve got to be joking

You have to ask yourself, what entrepreneur in their right
mind would even contemplate offering to look after the
security of peoples Microsoft servers, how can some poor
soul on the outside of Microsoft guarantee to keep em
secure when they cant even manage it for themselves ?




From: Jamie
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Word convertor

/queue-cheesy-Jenny-Craig-advertisment-style-voice

I used to be constantly weighed down by the burden of
receiving Word document attachments.  Hours, even days were
spent in the torment of finding some way of extracting the
content so I could view it from my Linux based PC.

However, help is at hand!!

/cut-the-crap

I find Antiword very useful :
http://www.winfield.demon.nl/index.html




From: Richard Thomas
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Ms Word vs. PDF

There is a free viewer for MS Word documents - it's named
something like MS Word Viewer.  It is provided by Microsoft
and is available from their website.  It doesn't do macros
at all so it is quite safe to use.  If a person sets it to
be the default applcation for Word documents then viewing
unknown Word attachments becomes quite safe.  If a document
needs to be edited, the content can be cut and pasted from
the viewer to Word itself.

Of course this doesn't help out folk on other platforms and
doesn't excuse the habit of sending Word documents as
attachments.

There is also an Excel viewer available.




From: Lin Nah
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: MS-* attachments and pdf converter

How to get rid of M$ attachment
Create a standard reply saying "Thank you for sending
an attachment.  Unfortunately due to security considerations
I am unable to access the information in the attachment.
Should the message be important, please send me the message
in a text format."

Reply that every time till they get the message.

I tend to delete m$ attachments without looking at them
unless I know they are safe.

Alternative to viewing M$ attachments
If all you are worried about are word macros or the
ability to infect due to homogeniety, one option is to
use the free viewers available.  word, excel and powerpoint
all have free vieweres available from www.microsoft.com
(if you can get to it).

Another option is to use Quick View Plus (
www.jasc.com/product.asp?pf_id=006 )- a shareware
that appears to allow you to view most formats.  It is quite
complete.

Creating PDF documents
If you install a generic ps printer in your computer,
you can print a file to postscript. Put the postscript
file through a ps2pdf converter (there are free ones).
For example www.ps2pdf.com does conversions for free.
www.aladdin.com/ has more info about the converter.


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