1. Important Adobe Acrobat Update

If you are using Adobe Acrobat 5.0 to create Adobe PDF format files, you may run into a serious incompatibility with Microsoft Office 2000 and XP programs. The original macros that Acrobat installs into Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint cause those programs to crash either when starting up or shutting down. I had this happen to me and only discovered how to solve the problem by reading an article on the Microsoft support web site. Adobe has now fixed the problem and it is contained in an update to Acrobat called Acrobat 5.0.5. It is a free download from the Adobe web site ( http://www.adobe.com) and I consider it essential if you are running this version of Acrobat. Earlier versions of Acrobat (version 4 and previous) don't seem to have this problem.

2. PowerPoint Viewer Issue

If you do not have the full PowerPoint program from Microsoft, you can still view PowerPoint files using the free PowerPoint viewer. This is a free download from the Microsoft web site and allows you to display PowerPoint 97, and 2000 files. There is one issue though. The viewer is based on the PowerPoint 97 program, so some of the PowerPoint 2000 features do not work as you would expect them to. One of the most annoying is the numbered bullet feature. In the PowerPoint viewer, the numbers display as strange graphic characters. One way to work around this is to turn off bullets on the slide and simply type the numbers into the text - then the numbers will display properly.

3. Useful Resource

If you own a laptop, you need to be concerned about it being stolen. If you do not already own a laptop security device, I urge you to buy one now. These devices attach to your laptop through a locking hole built into every laptop. Then a cable attaches to a desk or other not easily moved object. The only way to steal the laptop is to break the laptop case (in which the value of the laptop drops to zero) or to cut the cable (which is very hard to do without carrying large bolt cutters). Some security devices even include motion sensing features so that if the laptop is moved, an ear-piercing noise goes off. Some of the best are made by Targus (http://www.targus.com) and sold at many computer or office supply stores for $65 or less.