- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 15, 2002

As the late Jimmy Cannon, one of the great sportswriters, would say, nobody asked me, but there's a few things on my mind:
Software scam
A flood of e-mail has hit in the past few weeks offering copies of the 2002 versions of Norton AntiVirus and other Norton-branded software published by Symantec Corp. at bargain-basement prices.
I dismissed the stream of junk messages as just that junk. But in a meeting with Symantec personnel in Santa Monica, Calif., recently, I learned there was far more involved.
First, the e-mail is not in any way authorized or sponsored by Symantec. That company prefers to sell its products via standard sales channels, such as retail computer and office supply stores, warehouse clubs and well-known online computer sellers. Second, you could be a victim of a scam if you respond to the e-mail. You might get a counterfeit or pirated version of the Norton software, or your might get nothing at all. Meanwhile, the sender of the e-mail has your money, and perhaps your credit-card number.
The Norton name is well known enough in computer circles to inspire a measure of confidence among consumers, which makes this scam even more odious. There is little to prevent these rip-off artists from using another software publisher's name IBM's Lotus division, Corel's WordPerfect or Microsoft's Office in a future hustle. I hope it does not happen, but a good general rule of thumb is that if any offer in any e-mail seems "too good to be true," it probably is.

Mac magazine
The best Mac magazine might well be MacAddict, a publication of Future Networks in Brisbane, Calif. Each issue is pithy, precise and comes with a CD-ROM crammed with an amazing amount of shareware, trial ware and software demos. Anyone who is serious about seeing a broad range of applications for the Macintosh would love to get their hands on these CDs.
The writing lists more toward a Gen X (or later) sensibility than other computer magazines, but in studying reviews in two issues (October and November), I found highly accurate analysis that didn't skimp on the important details. The how-to section, a key feature of any computer-enthusiast magazine, is loaded with both short tips on removing red eye from photos and longer articles on how to set up and serve a professional Web log (or "blog") from your own Mac. Step-by-step instructions and photos are very well presented.
The only "ouch" for buyers is the price: $7.99 per issue on the newsstand. But issues feature a card with a subscription offer of $24 a year for 12 issues and 12 CDs, which may rank as one of the last great bargains. Details can be found at www.macaddict.com, and for Mac lovers, it's worth investigating.

Loss of a titan
Speaking of magazines, the computer journalism field lost a titan on Oct. 8 with the passing of Jim Seymour, who for nearly 20 years contributed columns to PC Magazine and for many years also wrote for PC Week. Mr. Seymour was highly regarded as a straight shooter and sound thinker. He will be missed.
A $20 book called "What Your Computer Consultant Doesn't Want You to Know," from Joshua Feinberg dispenses invaluable advice for small businesses on how to buy and use technology. It can be ordered by calling 866/832-4397 or online at www.smallbiztechtalk.com, and it might be a life saver for your business or home office.
E-mail [email protected] or visit his Web page, www.kellner2000.com. Talk to him live on Fridays from 5-6 p.m. EST on www.adrenalineradio.com.


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