Lab Notes

Lab Notes

Access denied. Ah, the joys of market competition. Now that the Web browser wars of a few years ago have balanced out to an uneasy detente between Microsoft Corp. and Netscape Communications Corp., GCN Lab reviewers are rediscovering the advantages of having multiple browsers and versions installed.

While setting up an old PC for year 2000 upgrades, I saw that it needed a newer version of Microsoft Internet Explorer. But when I tried to use the existing browser to go to the Microsoft Web site to download, I ran into a technological roadblock. Error messages kept saying that access was denied.

It turned out that the version on the PC was Internet Explorer 2.0, admittedly a very old browser. But I was astonished that Microsoft's Web site, so rich in Active Server Pages and gee-whiz content, no longer can support older versions of the company's own browser.

What to do? I fired up a copy of Netscape Navigator 4.05 that happened to be on the same machine and downloaded the newest version of Explorer.

Y2K at Big K. Could year 2000 computer glitches in the retail market repeat themselves in the government market? Recently a member of the GCN staff bought a lawnmower from the Kmart retail chain. Finding a serious defect, he went back to the store to return the mower.

Everything proceeded as it should, and he thought the situation was resolved. A subsequent credit card statement, however, showed not a credit from Kmart but a second charge for the mower.

The store manager blamed the double billing on 'this 2YK thing.' Further conversation revealed that the store had been conducting its year 2000 readiness testing on the day in question, and all returns were supposedly being treated as purchases. True or false?

If you have had vendors, contractors or even others use the year 2000 problem as an excuse for a mistake, please e-mail the tale to

Taking note of SmartSuite. When is the best time to upgrade your office suite? Well, how about when your old programs don't work with your new ones?

Users of Lotus Notes 5 and anything except the latest version of Lotus SmartSuite are finding that out the hard way. The recently released SmartSuite 9.5 works fine with the Notes 5 client, but older suite versions hang when run side by side with it.

Luckily, you need not buy the new suite to fix the hangup. Check the Notes 5 program CD-ROM for a folder called \apps\smartsuite that contains the needed patches. I guess Lotus just needed to make SmartSuite a little smarter.

'Jason Byrne


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