Wow. Google's stuff typically stays in "Beta" so long it's practically a brand name.
For those who don't know "Beta" is the software development term for when a product is being tested for stability and feature completeness before being released. "Alpha" is very early prototype code, generally not released outside of the development team. Beta is largely feature complete (they think) and is usually released to a wider (though usually still controlled) audience to test for stability and to make sure it's ready to release.
Problems found in "Beta" testing are corrected until they get to a build of the product they think is good enough to ship. Then it's "released".
Google Chrome, like most Google products it seems, had been officially labelled as "beta" software since it's wide release to the general public a couple of months ago. Google's GMail is still labelled as Beta.
Jeff Beard posts on the LawTech Guru blog a way to open two instances of Outlook at the same time. If you're using dual monitors it can be very useful.
One thing I wanted to add to his tip is that you CAN open two instances from Outlook's icon on the desktop or Quick Launch...but first you have to modify the shortcut. Right-click that shortcut, go to Properties, and in the Target field remove the "/recycle" switch. That switch tells Outlook not to open a new window if one's already open. HOWEVER...I recommend against removing it. Better to use Jeff's tip if you want a second window.
Just right-click the folder you want to see and choose "Open in a New Window". By the way, I don't have a version older than 2003 to test it on, but I think that trick will actually work with ALL versions of Outlook.
This article from InfoWorld talks about how bad people might use DNS Rebinding attacks to take over routers.
Now there is one catch and it's something I talk about in EVERY security presentation I give (at least every presentation that talks about routers/firewalls) and that is that the router has to have web-based administration enabled (as many do) AND has to still be using the defaul Admin password.
That's the key to it right there. ALWAYS CHANGE THE ADMIN PASSWORD on your routers and devices. Always. Always.
Dell Business is offering a Vostro Notebook for just $399 with free shipping. But is it a good deal? Let me make two observations:
1. The processor is a Sempron single-core. That's not fatal, just that nearly all other modern machines are running dual-core processors today. If you're content with a fairly pedestrian machine, performance-wise, then I guess this is o.k. Personally I'd rather opt for a Dual-core or better processor.
2. Notice that it comes with a choice of XP Home or Vista Basic. Odd choices for a Business-oriented machine. I'd spend the extra $99 to upgrade to XP Professional.
Facebook is MySpace for grownups. Unfortunately just because somebody may be a grownup doesn't mean they don't have an impish streak about them too. So once you get past the more business-like interface, the fields for employment and college information and the promises of connecting and reconnecting with colleagues and clients you'll find that there are some fun, and some sort of dodgy, elements to Facebook as well.
The Internet has always had an air of abstraction about it. Even if you're using your real name you're not face to face with anybody - you're in the comfort of your home, office or corner Starbucks (which seems to serves as home office for some) - and so a lot of inhibitions get lost. You say things, post things, admit to things that you probably wouldn't do if you were sober and standing in front of that crowd.
Facebook is no different in that respect. I have a lot of colleagues with profiles on Facebook, and I have one too. While many of us are members of harmless or even useful Facebook groups such as "Legal Knowledge Management", "The World's Technology Podcast", "The Official Facebook Triathlon Group" or even "The Columbo Appreciation Society" there are also somewhat more salacious groups available on Facebook.
Which groups you belong to is largely a matter of public record on Facebook so you may want to be aware of that. I don't mind at all if a client looks and sees that I'm a member of the "Guys Who Can Cook (And Girls Who Are Fans of That Cooking)" group. I wouldn't be very comfortable with a client discovering that I was a member of a "Guys Who Want to Lick Jessica Biel" group. Which is why I'm not a member of any such group, though I certainly can't disagree with the basic premise.
Within the groups you can post on "the Wall" which is just a quick and dirty bulletin board of sorts where you can carry on extremely informal conversations and post informational things. I say "quick and dirty" and in some groups the Wall quickly becomes dirty. Again, while it might be tempting to chime in with which of your law school professors you always wanted to show your briefs to, I encourage you to show a little restraint. Remember: Facebook is not private and not very anonymous. What you say there can, and probably will, be seen by colleagues, clients, vendors and others in your community.
Additionally there are discussion boards within the groups. Sometimes these discussions are quite useful - a good dialog about marketing techniques or how one firm or another is utilizing document management. In one of the marathon groups I've been involved in some interesting discussions about training techniques and overcoming injury. But in some of the groups the discussions sometimes bend towards "Would you have sex with the person who posted just before you, yes or no?" (Yes, that is an actual discussion thread seen in one of the groups). While Facebook isn't so much of a dating service (though I'm sure some people have met and dated through Facebook) there is a dynamic when you get young men and young women together, especially when they're allowed to post pictures, and that dynamic sometimes veers towards the tawdry.
Additionally Facebook has "applications" - little applets you can add to your profile that let you "throw a (virtual) sheep at" your friends, play Scrabble on Facebook, rate movies, compare your friends and other such. Most of them are harmless but bear in mind that your Facebook friends can see what applications you add.
One of my Facebook friends, I'll call her "Susan" (you may have surmised that's not her real name) is an attorney and she has lately taken to adding a number of rather adult-oriented Facebook applications. Thanks to the "Mini-Feed" feature of Facebook your friends not only can see your applications but they get NOTIFIED when you add one. Yesterday she added the "What's Your Secret Sexual Fantasy?" application.
I don't know about you but I think I'll keep my secret fantasies secret - at least from my clients, colleagues and old college buddies.
I understand the temptations. I'm uncomfortable with how much I already share on Facebook and I don't post any sexual fantasies or things that are overtly inappropriate. Facebook friends who read my profile probably do learn things about me they didn't know and in some cases it's possible I've overstepped and revealed something personal I'd probably rather they not all know. But I do try to be conscious of it and not just post every thought that enters my mind. I do try to filter and censor at least a little bit.
Facebook can be a useful and entertaining resource. I've connected and reconnected with old friends, business partners and others through it. I've learned quite a bit about topics like running, science, cooking and technology that are useful to me. But be aware that the persona you present on Facebook is not a private one. That things you say, do and participate in there will be seen by others and will reflect upon you.
The next time I see "Susan" do you think it won't cross my mind that she has a curious obsession with certain fruits? Do you suppose it might cross her mind that she's suddenly not alone behind her computer screen any more and that she's now standing in a room full of pseudo-friends who are picturing her in the green silk teddy?
Be careful that on Facebook you are mindful of which face you're showing everybody.