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Extension Technology and
Computer Services

 

University of Missouri-Columbia   Extension Technology and Computer Services—ETCS

 
 March 2001
Vol. 18, No. 1



A Technology Newsletter for Extension Specialists

 

 

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What's New with your Computer?
by John Myers & Joe Lear

Why do we need to change software, I just got used to my machine? This is a very good question and one that ETCS does not take lightly. The main reason is to keep current so that we can receive support from the software vendors. After a new version or two of a program comes out, the software vendors will no longer fix any bugs in the older versions. Another reason for updating software is that new software will sometimes not work on the older operating systems. New software will usually be faster, have more features, and is more user friendly.

With all this said, what can I expect out of the new software standards. The main changes are in the operating system. The campus is adopting Windows 2000 as their standard while the counties will be adopting Windows Me. With the configuration of our network, if the county users were to adopt Windows 2000 as their standard, there are situations that could arise that would prevent a county user from getting to their file server or printers in their office. Using Windows Me in the counties eliminates this potential problem. Both operating systems have some nice features. They both have better memory management and can better utilize the memory in the machines. A new feature of the Microsoft operating systems is the Windows File Protection system. The operating systems won't allow your critical system files to be deleted or altered, either by accident or by a malicious virus or rogue application. The operating systems also have a feature called Disk Cleanup that helps free up space on your hard drive. Disk Cleanup searches your drive, and then shows you temporary files, Internet cache files, and unnecessary program files that you can safely delete. You can direct Disk Cleanup to delete some or all of those files.

Office 2000 has new features which should be useful to you. The help feature in Office has been improved to be more web-like in operation. The help files are easier to navigate and the search feature is improved. The clipboard allows you to store up to 12 objects to be cut, copied, or pasted into your office documents instead of just one as before.

Word 2000 itself has several new features. The first is that you can type anywhere in a document by simply double clicking at the point where you would like to start typing. Word automatically puts in the proper formatting to get you there. Also, Word 2000 handles graphics better. One of the other new features is that if you open multiple word documents, each document opens its own window complete with menu and button bars for formatting the document. This makes the documents easier to work with if you are moving information between the documents or working on them separately. It also means that if you accidentally click the close program "X" in the upper right corner you only close one document, not the entire program and potentially losing any unsaved data that you may have had in the other documents.

The big improvement in Outlook 2000 is the contacts folder. In Outlook 2000, you can create personal distribution lists for e-mailing to different groups you work with in the contacts folder instead of using your personal address book. Your personal address book can be imported into the contacts folder, making your personal e-mail addresses and groups available to you even when accessing your e-mail via the web. The contact folder is stored on the exchange server so you can use it wherever you can log into your e-mail.

PowerPoint 2000 starts up with a new look, giving you the slide, outline, and speaker notes view at the same time. This view can be changed by a simple click of the button. Improvements have also been made in the "Pack `n Go" feature which allows you to create presentations for use on computers not running PowerPoint. The improvements allow you to link several presentations together in one self-running presentation. Features have also been added to improve the process of moving a presentation to the web and to create a streaming web broadcast of your PowerPoint presentation.

In cooperation with all the campuses of the University of Missouri, we are changing our computer names. In order to remedy problems that arise when two machines try to use the same computer name, we are adding UE to the beginning of county computers and MU to the beginning of campus computers. This will allow us to fix problems with duplicate computer names faster. Please do not change your computer names yourself.

Due to thunderstorms and lighting, ETCS has told the counties to turn their computers off at night. We would like to change this recommendation because of some new features that ETCS has installed on the county computers. We have written a number of visual basic scripts that perform certain tasks on your computers. These tasks include running the Disk Cleanup utility, running the Scan Disk utility, running the Disk Defragmenter utility, and running the SMS hardware and software inventories. These tasks are scheduled to run every night that the computer is left on. We now recommend that you leave your computers on overnight at least once a week, weather permitting, to allow the visual basic scripts to keep your machine running at its full potential.

 

 

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