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Tech tips on Service Pack 2, Google, more
Scripps Howard News Service


April 14, 2005

Tidbits from the computing world and the repair bench fill the space this week. Let's get right to it.

Beginning April 12, Microsoft turned on Windows XP Service Pack 2 as a "required, critical update," forcing the 200 MB download on your machine even if you installed the previously issued patch to block it. (This assumes you have Automatic Update installed, as many of us do.)

If you have Windows set to install updates automatically, it's going to arrive and install. If you have it set to download and wait for your instructions, you'll find a globe in your lower right toolbar with a 200 MB patch waiting to run.

This is the big hairy note from Microsoft:

Because of these significant improvements, Microsoft views Windows XP SP2 as an essential security update and is therefore distributing it as a "critical update" via Windows Update and the Automatic Updates delivery mechanism in Windows. Microsoft strongly urges customers with Windows XP and Windows XP Service Pack 1-based systems to update to Windows XP SP2 as soon as possible.

It's not that big a deal for home users; I have installed the patch on dozens of machines and have run into issues with two. In both cases I rolled back the patch by uninstalling it and all is well. I just have to figure out why it went wrong in those machines or count on never patching it again.

However, machines in the corporate world had better be ready. If IT departments around the world haven't disabled auto update, these 200 meg patches will be filling up networks and, more importantly, being installed on machines that perhaps have not been tested for compatibility with applications. If you want to block the download you can shut off automatic update but you'll also miss out on other patches until you turn it back on.

Google, in its unstated mission to take over the world, has added maps ( that also offer free aerial photos of where you're going, and now video search, which lets you search for recent television programming online ( The text searching comes from the closed-captioning signal on the video feed.

So far you'll find only certain video feeds online, from things like Fox News, C-SPAN and ABC. You can see the list by clicking "About Google Video" on the main home page. It's pretty slick though. You can search within shows for when certain words or phrases were mentioned and, if the video is available, watch that segment. If it gets a lot of channels it will be even better.

Podcasting, a new form of listening to recorded broadcasts, is one of the fastest growing forms of entertainment among MP3-player-owning people. More than 28 percent of owners say they have downloaded a podcast, which is a radio or other broadcast on a tape-delayed basis.

For example, talk show host Dave Ramsey offers his show for downloading in MP3 format from his Web site so users can download it to their iPods or other players and listen to it at their leisure.

This is a pretty amazing thing considering podcasting didn't exist 12 months ago.



For the latest news on podcasting, visit Podcasting News at


(James Derk is co-owner of CyberDads, a computer repair company, and a computer columnist for Scripps Howard News Service. His e-mail address is jim(at)

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