Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review April 18, 2001 / 25 Nissan, 5761

The Computer Maven by James Derk

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Cisco...taxes...Iomega upgrade...bills online -- THE notebook is full of musings and meanderings.

- I don't often do book reviews, but I have been entranced by "Cisco Unauthorized: Inside the High-Stakes Race to Own the Future" by Jeffrey S. Young.

This new book tells the real story behind Cisco and even the Internet economy as a whole. Previously I had read the "real" Cisco book, "Making the Cisco Connection :The Story Behind the Real Internet Superpower" by David Bunnell.

The key is, of course, that Young's book was released in 2001 and Bunnell's in early 2000; in that year you now can buy a healthy part of Cisco for the same price as a Happy Meal. (If you want to weep, look at a one-year stock chart for Cisco.)

Cisco remains an Internet powerhouse and a key player in the industry, but Young spins a telling tale of how we all got caught up in the Web frenzy, including Cisco. It's a pretty solid microcosm of the whole Internet world.

It's a great read.

- Iomega has fixed a somewhat fatal flaw in its automatic backup software that makes extra copies of your key files for you.

The earlier version of QuickSync could only make backups to Iomega's own storage products. The company has realized the error of its ways and has released QuickSync 3. You install it and follow the easy-to-use wizards to tell it which files you want backed up and how often. And for less than 20 bucks, it's a keeper.

- So I do my taxes using Intuit's Turbo Tax. (It's taken me a while to get motivated.) So I finish months of periodic data entry and select the "File Electronically" button. I get a pop-up box that says my tax return is "too complicated" to be filed online and I have to print out the return and mail it in.

Huh? I am sure this is not a problem with Turbo Tax but it still makes me consider a CPA next time.

Then when I finish, it asks me if I would like to "automatically download" my state's software. Sure, I say...then find out it is $29.95 for each state.


- Is it just me or do you find it hilarious when your ISP goes down and you call customer service and they act annoyed when you ask what the issue is? "We put a note on the Web site." Hmmmm, I say. "But my service is down. How exactly should I read the Web site?"

--Anyone else trying online bill paying? I finally popped for it a couple of months ago and so far, so good. Only about a third of my monthly payees accept electronic (bank to bank) transfers, so my bill-paying service ends up cutting paper checks to nearly everyone. But considering postage, I am saving money. What's been your experiences?

WEEKLY WEB WONDER: The practice of swooping in at the last second on an online auction is called "sniping." Now a free Web site will "snipe" for you. Check it out at

James Derk is computer columnist for Scripps Howard News Service. Comment by clicking here.


04/11/01: How private is your e-mail; recovering deleted e-messages
04/03/01: Internet Explorer 6.0...get rid of temporary Internet files
03/28/01: Tips on traveling with a laptop
03/20/01: Naughty e-mails...which side up...see a castle
03/16/01: Personal choices for the computer
03/06/01: Apollo printers...CD problems...more
02/27/01: Good firewalls to keep your computer safe
02/12/01: How to set up a LAN party
01/30/01: Used computers... picture.exe...other problems
01/23/00: Cool computer tricks

© 2001 SHNS