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  1. #1
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    PC Magazine blows it again!

    Once again I am very disappointed with another blatant falsehood presented in this once excellent magazine.
    *****
    In Larry Seltzer's article "NAT Enough?", PC Magazine, September 2004, Page 92, he states the following:

    Don't confuse network firewalls like Symantec's Norton Internet Security or the Internet Connection Firewall in Windows (soon to be renamed Windows Firewall). These are programs that operate on the PC itself and protect both inbound and outbound communications"

    Microsoft's Internet Connection Firewall and the renamed Windows Firewall in XP SP2 have NEVER protected outbound communications. This has been widely publicized here, CastleCops (formally ComputerCops), in the industry trades and broadcast media, and even PC Magazine in previous editions. This is why Norton's Internet Security and ZoneLabs' "free" ZoneAlarm have become so popular.

    Surely Larry Seltzer knew this. He is the editor of the Ziff-Davis' Security Center.

    This is a MAJOR oversight on their part as now when millions of folks upgrade to SP2 they will leave their systems vulnerable to attacks by keyloggers, worms, IDENTITY THEFT and other malware programs that will be able to "CALL HOME" unhindered.

    This is exactly why PC Magazine is no longer considered a reliable source of information amongst my professional colleagues in the computer and network security industry.
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
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  2. #2
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    Re: PC Magazine blows it again!

    Bill

    Presumably you have made this point to him/them -- with what response?

    John
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  3. #3
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    Re: PC Magazine blows it again!

    Well, I;ve been reading PC Magazine for a lot of years, and I can't say that I've ever thought of it as a top source of security information. I mean, it's aimed toward non-technical readers who want to become semi-technical.

    The inbound vs. outbound thing should have been caught by an editor, but I hardly think that it rises to the level of perfidy.

  4. #4
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    Re: PC Magazine blows it again!

    Wasn't it pushing itself as the Business Technical Computer Magazine, with all those Lab tests? Or did that finish when they stopped doing the paper version...

    John
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  5. #5
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    Re: PC Magazine blows it again!

    My post here was pretty much a cut n paste from the email I sent them - no word yet - I don't expect one.

    It is too bad - I have been reading PC Mag since my Commodore 64 days before I bought my first PC - they USED to have excellent reviews and articles but over the last 3 - 5 years, steady decline in quality. Dvorak needs to see the light and leave.

    Yes, they have changed their "target audience" several times. I think all they target now is MS ad money or something.

    I worry about how many "editors" (and I use that word loosly) it went past.
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
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  6. #6
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    Re: PC Magazine blows it again!

    Bill,
    Thanks for the heads up.
    I have to agree with you that it was a major flub on the part of PC mag. It just reinforces the reasons why I dropped my subscription to them a few years ago. There was a time when they would have an important article most every month. I used to clip them out and file them in a loose leaf notebook. Then I noticed that I wansn't doing much clipping and just leafed through an issue, thinking this has no value or interest at all. So out they went.
    BOB
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  7. #7
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    Re: PC Magazine blows it again!

    IIRC, there were quite significant changes some time back, when they were bought up by another company. Many of the authors of their excellent (then free) utilities either left or were terminated. Maybe others, who contributed to the quality of content, also went by the way. IMO though, non-specialist magazines have never been a good source of information on "specialist" security issues. Even back in the days when getting a virus from a floppy was the major security concern, they still tended to get it wrong on viruses and scanners. Part of the problem is having to support (or at least not blatantly can) the products that appear in their advertisments.

    Alan

    Edited - This letter by former editor, Sheryl Canter, may prove enlightening.

  8. #8
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    Re: PC Magazine blows it again!

    I agree that PC Magazine is poor.

    Let's subscribe to something better.
    But what is a better PRINT publication? I'm not at all interested in online pubs
    I asked in these forums some time agol and got no response that I can recall.

    Maybe we need two threads, one for online and one for print?
    I'll start the threads and see what that elicits.

  9. #9
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    Re: PC Magazine blows it again!

    <hr>I'm not at all interested in online pubs
    <hr>
    Why? Just curious.
    John
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  10. #10
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    Re: PC Magazine blows it again!

    John

    Several of the UK weekly free computer newspaper publications (usually much larger than A4 in print format) have downloadable electronic versions which have to be read by an abomination called Zinio Reader, which I hate with a perfect hate. The program takes over your machine, like AOL, and is the very devil to remove. It is impossible to read the text of the magazine unless you magnify it, and then it is difficult to move around in it. Consequently all the side columns get ignored, and I just look at the Dilbert cartoon (hooray!), some specific and recurring articles, and then look at the news headlines, to see if any of the corresponding articles are worth reading. This is partly because of the landscape shape of monitors (and yes, I DO have a rotatable LCD screen at home, but it's a pain since it doesn't detect that it has been rotated, and you have to faff around with the screen shape/drivers). I haven't found any way to print just a page or even an article from Zinio Reader. On the whole the best way to read a newspaper is in printed form.

    This may perhaps be what Howard is referring to, since PC Mag comes in Zinio "readable" form.

    John

    PS Yes, I am cross ... again!
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  11. #11
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    Re: PC Magazine blows it again!

    It is just not cost effective use of time to hunch over a terminal to read online.

    Print publications can more easily be "thumbed thru".

    Print publications can be read away from the PC.

    Online pubs are, in large part, cluttered gwith crap that is not needed but is there merely because it is TOO easy to include, etc.

    Online stuff is often poorly formatted, i.e., will not fit on a normal U.S. Letter or A4 page in portrait mode.

    Etc.

  12. #12
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    Re: PC Magazine blows it again!

    Many of your arguments against online publications seem to me to be an indictment of the industry rather than of the technology.

    I read many online publications while away from my PC. I'll admit that I have yet to see a magazine that publishes in a format that I can read on my Palm Pilot, but I've found many books that do so.

    Speaking of cluttered, I've dropped most of my print magazine subscriptions because I can't find the articles thru the ads. I've even had some where it's almost impossible to find the table of contents.

    I share your dislike of poorly formatted web pages. Not just publications, but help & support websites, too. (I swear, 4 out of every 5 websites I print out for reference end up with the bottom menu/contact info/footer on a separate page which I immediately throw away.)

    I'm not sure about 'thumbing thru' an online publication. I look for the table of contents & pick out which stories I want to read from there-and that actually works better in online publications than print. I suppose that's just a matter of personal style. I wonder if anyone's working on supporting the 'thumb thru' style?

    Your final point about it not being cost effective is one that I don't understand. Is there a difference in time between 'hunching over' a printed publication vs. 'hunching over' a terminal? Do you pay for time on the terminal? (By the way, if you truly need to 'hunch over' your terminal then I'd look into getting a different terminal.)

    As I noted earlier, I don't read a lot of publications while seated at my desk. Generally I download them to my Palm Pilot & then read that either while seated on my couch beside my wife or while commuting (if I'm not driving). When I do read a publication at my desk I've never noticed a difference whether it's online or printed so I'm not sure why one format would be more cost effective than the other-for me, at least.

  13. #13
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    Re: PC Magazine blows it again!

    "Many of your arguments against online publications seem to me to be an indictment of the industry rather than of the technology."

    Yes.

    "I read many online publications while away from my PC. I'll admit that I have yet to see a magazine that publishes in a format that I can read on my Palm Pilot, but I've found many books that do so."

    Reading an on line document that was downloaded to be read offline does not satisfy any of my objections.

    "Speaking of cluttered, I've dropped most of my print magazine subscriptions because I can't find the articles thru the ads. I've even had some where it's almost impossible to find the table of contents."

    What's a "table of contents"?
    What's an "index"?
    Few publishers even know what those words mean.

    "I share your dislike of poorly formatted web pages. Not just publications, but help & support websites, too. (I swear, 4 out of every 5 websites I print out for reference end up with the bottom menu/contact info/footer on a separate page which I immediately throw away.)"

    Clearly, most web sites are (mis)designed by inexperienced folkes who ASSuME that folkes will read the stuff online.

    "I'm not sure about 'thumbing thru' an online publication. "

    That will not be practical because all the links that prevent scrolling thu a doc.

    "I look for the table of contents & pick out which stories I want to read from there-and that actually works better in online publications than print."

    Yes, but it is rare to find an adequate, if any, TOC.

    " I wonder if anyone's working on supporting the 'thumb thru' style?"

    Too many docs get caught up in using links. For example, I see an increasing number of docs that require one to click on a link to see a figure or table.
    Thumbing thu a printed doc, such figures and table catch one's eyes.

    "Your final point about it not being cost effective is one that I don't understand. Is there a difference in time between 'hunching over' a printed publication vs. 'hunching over' a terminal?"

    Yes.
    Ergonomically, online is harder on the body.
    With proper lighting, PRINTED is eaier on the eyes.
    P.S. I recently purchased a Verilux "Happy Eyes" lamp. Wow, does it make a difference.

    "Do you pay for time on the terminal?"
    That's not the cost to which I am referring. I find that I can read printed matter much faster then online matter.

    "(By the way, if you truly need to 'hunch over' your terminal then I'd look into getting a different terminal.)"

    I was using "hunch" in a generic, perhaps inaccurate, way.
    Easiest word to use.

    "As I noted earlier, I don't read a lot of publications while seated at my desk. Generally I download them to my Palm Pilot & then read that either while seated on my couch beside my wife or while commuting (if I'm not driving). When I do read a publication at my desk I've never noticed a difference whether it's online or printed so I'm not sure why one format would be more cost effective than the other-for me, at least."

    I do notice a large difference.

  14. #14
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    Re: PC Magazine blows it again!

    Post moved from Books/Ezines

    Like you, I don't find the process of online "browsing" very satisfactory (for much the same reasons). But I do like to have access to specific, cited articles online. I sometimes get round the poor formatting by printing to a driver, like FinePrint, then sending to printer after adjustments. Other methods I use to clean them up include filtering out ads, opening in Word and reformatting, saving as text only then applying a few heading styles. I also inject the date, webpage title and URL into the document within the browser. Just a few <img src=/S/2cents.gif border=0 alt=2cents width=15 height=15> worth.

    Alan

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    Re: PC Magazine blows it again!

    <hr>
    As I noted earlier, I don't read a lot of publications while seated at my desk. Generally I download them to my Palm Pilot & then read that either while seated on my couch beside my wife or while commuting (if I'm not driving). When I do read a publication at my desk I've never noticed a difference whether it's online or printed so I'm not sure why one format would be more cost effective than the other-for me, at least.<hr>


    I'm intrigued. What periodicas do you read on your PDA ? Are they packaged for delivery to the hadheld, or do you have to "convert" them first (I know there are several programs available for grabbing web pages and downloading them to the Palm, but I can't recal the name right now).

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