Welcome to The Funny/Alerts Newsletter. There's only FIVE shopping days until Christmas! If you aren't done yet, you had better kick it into gear! Remember that the Pres' wants us to support our economy, so spend... spend... spend.
Personally, I'll probably wait until the last day and then hit "the mall". Not because I need to, but just because I love the energy! It's almost palpable; you can feel it the way you do when standing near a high-voltage line. I'll swim around in it for an hour or so and buy a couple of impulse items just to round out the evening.
Look for me if you're out there... I'll be the one with the big, dumb grin on my face!

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GRINS & GIGGLES:
The professor of a contract law class asked one of his better students, "If you were to give someone an orange, how would you go about it?"

The student replied, "Here's an orange."

The professor was outraged. "No! No! Think like a lawyer!"

The student then replied, "Okay. I'd tell him 'I hereby give and convey to you all and singular, my estate and interests, rights, claim, title, claim and advantages of and in, said orange, together with all its rind, juice, pulp, and seeds, and all rights and advantages with full power to bite, cut, freeze and otherwise eat, the same, or give the same away with and without the pulp, juice, rind and seeds, anything herein before or hereinafter or in any deed, or deeds, instruments of whatever nature or kind whatsoever to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding...'" 

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"Because my client is uncertain which of the two men with whom she lived concurrently is the father of her child, Your Honor," stated the lawyer, "she seeks to combine them as joint defendants in this legal action."

"So what she is really filing," commented the judge in a wry tone, "is a paternity suit with two pair of pants."

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CYBERSPACE ALERT:
Windows eXPerimental woes

As more people are drawn to the "latest, greatest" Windows OS (operating system) the calls for help are mounting. Primarily, customers want to know why their old software doesn't run or why can't they use their modem, Zip drive, network card, etc. The problem is not with Windows, but a failure to read and follow instructions.
When eXPerimental starts the normal install procedure, the first thing it will do is test your installed hardware and software for compliance. Upon completion it lists all known issues and gives the user the option of viewing, printing or skipping this report and continuing with the install. Unfortunately, most users assume that it can be safely ignored, forgetting that they are dealing with a Microshaft product. When you get this window, PLEASE print it out and read it before you continue! (You'll thank me later) Check the web sites for all manufacturers listed and try to find XP compatible versions, patches, drivers, updates, ET cetera. If you can't make your hardware/software compatible you'll have to by replacements. Be aware that XP is so new that not everyone is on the bandwagon yet!
As you should know by now, XP is NOT the next iteration of the old 95/98/98se/ME line. Instead, it is the subsequent version of NT/2000 and, as such, it's going to have a lot of quirks related to corporate level networking. In other words, your computer is going to act more like a client workstation than the old familiar playground you're used to.
I'm still recommending that you wait for version 2. (unless you're a glutton for punishment)

Remember: Just because they're selling it doesn't mean that it's ready!

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MEATSPACE ALERT:

Have you heard about the next planned Survivor show? Three businessmen and three businesswomen will be dropped into an elementary school classroom for six weeks. Each business person will be provided with a copy of their school district's curriculum, and a class of 28 students.
Each class will have five learning disabled children, three with A.D.D., one gifted child, and two who speak limited English. Three will be labeled as severe behavior problems.

Each business person must complete lesson plans at least three days in advance with annotations for curriculum objectives and modify, organize, or create materials accordingly. They will be required to teach students, handle misconduct, implement technology, document attendance, write referrals, correct homework, make bulletin boards, compute grades, complete report cards, document benchmarks, communicate with parents, and arrange parent conferences. They must also supervise recess and monitor the hallways. In addition, they will complete drills for fire, tornadoes, and shooting attacks.

They must attend 100 hours of workshops, faculty meetings, union meetings, and curriculum development meetings. They must also tutor those students who are behind and strive to get their two non-English speaking children proficient enough to take the Terra Nova and EPA tests.

If they are sick or having a bad day, they must not let it show. Each day they must incorporate reading, writing, math, science, and social studies into the program. They must maintain discipline and provide an educationally stimulating environment at all times.

The business people will have access to the golf course only on the weekends, but on their new salary, they will not be able to afford it anyway. There will be no access to vendors who want to take them out to lunch, and lunch will be limited to 30 minutes. On days when they do not have recess duty, the business people will be permitted to use the staff restroom as long as another survival candidate is supervising their class.

They will be provided with two 40-minute planning periods per week while their students are at specials. If the copier is operable, they may make copies of necessary materials at this time.

The business people must continually advance their education on their own time and pay for this advanced training themselves. This can be accomplished by moonlighting at a second job or marrying someone with money.

The winner of this new Survival game will be allowed to return to his or her job.

Pass this to your friends who think teaching is easy, as well as to the ones who know it is hard. They will both benefit.

[thanks to Bob Bothum for this one]

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TRUE STORY:
Instinct to chase opportunities leads to success
By Maggie O'Neill

Most people instinctively pursue opportunities when they see them. That's what Doug Clary did in 1988 when he jumped ship from a company that was not fulfilling customer's print distribution needs into his own boat, Intraform, a company he built with a few former associates on the concept of customer satisfaction.

We supply printing needs anything from baseball caps and coffee mugs to invoices and mailers and label types of forms, said Bill Sandusky, operations manager for Intraform. 

We're the one-stop shop for any kind of printing need and we put all that together and provide that product for our customers. We supply anything that's printed that you can imagine.

Intraform grew over the years to about 30 employees and now has two new ways of better serving customers by making the process of print distribution more efficient.

One of the other things we're moving into is an Internet generated variable imaging product, said Richard Dimmitt, a national sales manager. 

What that means is that Intraform is slowly helping transform the face of customer interaction with businesses from paper to electronic. Such is the case with M-Power Communications, a utility company based in Las Vegas. Although under law, utility bills must be sent out in hard copy which Intraform oversees if a customer wants a copy of that bill, Intraform can email or fax it, instead of sending out another hard copy.

It also means that when a customer has a question an M-Power Communications customer service representative looks at an exact image of the bill that the customer is holding in hand.

[It] has helped quite a bit, said Don Senkewicz, director of revenue assurance at M-Power Communications. You can zero in on the exact line in question. It has certainly helped increase efficiency in the customer service department.

M-Power Communications is a company that uses specific parts of the variable imaging product. Other companies can choose to have all interface done electronically.

The second product which Intraform started last year, when a national company threatened to take its business elsewhere was E-procurement, the electronic ordering of printed materials through a database. Intraform partnered with Igetsmart.com to build accounts specifically geared for a company. Letterhead, business cards, marketing materials, specialty products, anything that the company has approved can be seen on screen as is and ordered.

Each customer has their own individual platform, Dimmitt said. They're in their own Web site. The customer goes in and sees only specific forms. Corporations can mandate what employees order. Businesses are looking for more efficient ways to purchase their products. 

For Intraform, the company has changed its business model and is better situated nationwide, according to Dimmitt.

These two new electronic products have opened doors for Intraform to billion and multi-billion dollar companies, but most of their client base is local, with more than 400 customers in the area.

There is nothing we can't to do or find a way to do, Dimmitt said. As one of our reps said: 'We're the aspirin; we take the headache out of the process.'

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FUN SITE:
The Reasonable Traveler's First Stop

Travel & Leisure says:
...Our advice? When price is an issue, try a consolidator. Hotel Reservations Network (www.hoteldiscount.com) stands out for its broad selection, ease of use, and savings ($276 at the Mondrian in L.A., for example, compared with $310 from the hotel). With the recent addition of 15 destinations, HRN now has rooms at 2,000 hotels in more than 75 cities across the United States, Canada, and Europe. Select a destination on the home page, and ask to see only those hotels that have rooms for the dates you need; search results include the hotel's exact location, its type, and the price...

Forbes Magazine says:
Promises rooms at "up to 65 percent off"--and in markets that are sold out. Indeed, a night at San Francisco's upscale Mark Hopkins InterContinental went for $260, as opposed to the going rate of $349. If you ever get lost on the site, Hotel Discounts' toll-free reservations service helps you find your way. Not that you would need to pick up the phone-- the online reservations process is relatively straightforward and hassle-free. Hotel Discounts also features a host of other useful applications, such as a currency converter and links to informative city guides.
BEST: Searching for room by city is among the easiest, with top destinations listed first.

The Wall Street Journal says:
...Hotel discounters can sometimes help you save serious money -- even on luxury properties. A random check of Hoteldiscounts.com, owned by Hotel Reservations Network Inc., Dallas, turned up a price of $599.90 for a two-night stay at the Bellagio resort in Las Vegas -- well below the $918.00 quoted as the cheapest price on the hotel's toll-free line and its Web site...

(same site)
http://www.hoteldiscount.com/
http://www.180096hotel.com/

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GREAT UTIL:
Windows Version

You can find out EXACTLY which version of Microshaft Windows your computer has by doing the following:

Right-click the MY COMPUTER icon
Left-click Properties

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SOFTWARE:
CERT® Advisory CA-2001-20: Continuing Threats to Home Users

This year, we have seen a significant increase in activity resulting in compromises of home user machines. In many cases, these machines are then used by intruders to launch attacks against other organizations. Home users have generally been the least prepared to defend against attacks. Many home users do not keep their machines up to date with security patches and workarounds, do not run current anti-virus software, and do not exercise caution when handling email attachments. Intruders know this, and we have seen a marked increase in intruders specifically targeting home users who have cable modem and DSL connections.

What is at risk?
Information security is concerned with three main areas:

·Confidentiality -- information should only be available to those who rightfully have access to it
·Integrity -- information should only be modified by those who are authorized to do so
·Availability -- information should be accessible to those who need it when they need it

These concepts apply to home Internet users just as much as they would to any corporate or government network. You probably wouldn't let a stranger look through your important documents. In the same way, you may want to keep the tasks you perform on your computer confidential, whether it's tracking your investments or sending e-mail messages to family and friends. Also, you should have some assurance that the information you enter into your computer remains intact and is available when you need it.

--
PS:
What E-mail Issues Exist with Norton AntiVirus Software?

Norton AntiVirus is a popular software program that helps to protect your computer from becoming infected by a computer virus. While Norton AntiVirus, a product of the Symantec Corporation, is a well-known and reputable program, a "bug" has been identified within some versions that prevents users from accessing e-mail.

The only solution at this time is to uninstall Norton AntiVirus or upgrade to a newer version of the software. More information on this topic can be found at 
http://www.zdnet.com/zdhelp/stories/main/0,5594,2684295,00.html

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QUICK WIT:

It is easy to be the person you have always been, for it requires no change, no self-reflection and no growth.
It may appear that changing yourself requires giving up something.
In reality there is no need to give up anything - you must simply add to what has been.