Reviewing Windows XP SP2

I’m really impressed with what Microsoft has done with the Windows XP Service Pack 2. I was looking at something on the Internet, and it automatically stopped a pop-up (Internet Explorer notifies you when it blocks them). I checked out some other sites, and sure enough it continued to work. However, when I clicked on a window to allow a JavaScript pop-up window, it blocked that as well, which can be a little annoying. But it does give you the option to allow pop-ups, and you can set up the pop-up blocker to always allow certain sites to load pop-ups. Also, the new firewall tells me when a program is trying to connect to the Internet, similar to ZoneAlarm or Norton Internet Security. You can also add programs to a list to allow them to connect, such as Norton AntiVirus or Microsoft FrontPage (I haven’t set up Dreamweaver yet, but that’s coming soon enough). In the new Security Center tab of the Control Panel, it also adds a tab for Norton AntiVirus (or whatever antivirus software you’re running) and lets you know if it is up to date. The only thing I don’t like is the automatic Windows update download option; it gives you this “caution” yellow appearance if you select anything other than full automatic download and update. I used to prefer clicking on the balloon and manually allowing it to install, but I suppose that the patches have gotten better, so I guess I’m not too worried about it.

One big disadvantage is that Internet Explorer now needs to be configured to run the “scripts” on my site as well. That should not be as big an issue in the next site, but if you suddenly notice some issues with my site after installing SP2, please bear in mind that I don’t run malicious software, and that the scripts on this site are simple and (hopefully) not harmful. The other option is to use Mozilla or Mozilla FireFox (although it turns out that my scripts don’t work there either). My next step will be to develop a web form for contacting me, which I may make available soon on this site. The whole trick, though, is to do so without using a Microsoft FrontPage extension; that means that I’ll have to learn how to do this in either Perl or CGI (if I’ve already lost you, don’t worry because I’m just as lost).

I can’t believe I have only one week left at the Department of Transportation (DOT) before I move on to my new position at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). The DOT Secretary stopped in and congratulated me again yesterday and wished me the best. Everyone seems really happy for me, but they’re also sad to see me go. During one meeting this past week, I was recognized for my support for the group (it was a information technology management committee). Although I’m a little sad to see my time at the DOT end for now, I am looking forward to an exciting new position at DATCP.