Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Office 2003, Service Pack 3 is Now Available

If you're running Office 2003, you can now download and install the latest service pack for Office 2003, which contains various fixes and greater security for your system.

At some point, your version of Office 2003 may let you know about this update and ask you if you want to install it. However, if you don't want to wait until your turn rolls around, you can go to the Microsoft Office Update page to see what Service Releases you should have on your system.

Go to this link: http://www.update.microsoft.com/microsoftupdate/v6/default.aspx?ln=en-us and your system will be checked. You will then see what updates are missing from your computer and have the choice of what you want installed.

If you prefer to download the file and update it manually, you can get it here: Office 2003 SP3

To learn more about using/installing this update, see this KB (Knowledgebase article):
Description of Office 2003 Service Pack 3

To see more details about what has been fixed/updated in this release, see this KB:
Issues that are fixed in Office 2003 by Office 2003 Service Pack 3

One important issue to be aware of is that this release will add tighter security and that may mean that you will get an error if you attempt to open older, legacy documents from previous versions of Office, which may not have access to this increased anti-hacker security. If this is a concern or you get an error trying to open docs after installing SP3, see these two KB articles (or read all these articles first, so you know what to expect):

You receive an error message when you try to open a file or to save a file after you install Office 2003 Service Pack 3

Information about certain file formats that are blocked after you install Office 2003 Service Pack 3

Why should you care about having the latest updates? Mainly for security reasons. In this age of identity theft, you want to make sure that your computer is well protected. As thieves come up with new ways to break into your computer, with a virus or spyware that can access your personal information, software companies come up with new barricades to stop those newfangled attacks. But if you're running an outdated system, you won't be protected from the latest round of attacks. This is true with email, too. You want your antivirus and spyware software to always be updated and to regularly check your system.

If you don't understand these processes, go to the TechTrax Archives and search for those terms. Run a search for SPYWARE and one for ANTIVIRUS. That'll give you articles that will explain why it is so important to keep things updated.

If you don't want to take the time to run the search and/or you don't think updates are important, at least read this article:
As the Worm Turns...Your Computer into a Zombie

Oh, and if you think you're safe on a Mac or Unix box, read the above article, too...because you may not be as safe as you think you are!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Stop Painful Leg Cramps, Instantly

Have you ever experienced a leg cramp? EeeeeOwwww! Nasty, eh?

I remember when I was a teen. I'd be sleeping away, peacefully. Suddenly I'd be jolted awake as searing pain grabbed my calf, squeezing the muscle and causing incredible pain. I thought it was the worse pain in the world. Of course, that's before I had the pleasure of experiencing the labor of child birth! Whoa baby...that one wins!

Back to leg cramps. You can't do anything about it, right? You're forced to freeze there and just bear it until it finally subsides. Just deal with it, right? Suck it up and endure the pain until the muscle relaxes and releases you from the agony, right?


Child birth may have been nasty business, but during those birthing classes, many years ago, our instructor knew that pregnant women are prone to leg cramps. She was a nurse and told our class one of the best secrets that medical professionals obviously know about, but had never told me before...or since for that matter.

What's worse is that my poor dad used to suffer from severe leg cramps. I wish I would have known this simple secret before he died so I could have helped him stop the pain. But maybe this article will help someone else out there.

This post idea came to me this morning, as I was stretching before I attempted to crawl out of bed. Suddenly, I felt a leg cramp starting. But before it could get its nasty claws into my muscle, I stopped it in its tracks.

How? Simple...toes to the nose!

A leg cramp causes the muscle to scrunch up. If you point your toes away from you, you give the muscle on the back of your leg even more slack, which allows it to squeeze up even tighter, thus causing you even more pain, as well as most likely letting the pain go on longer. What you need to do is stretch out the muscle so the cramp is stopped. To stretch out the muscle in your calf, you need to point your toes up toward your nose. This causes the muscle in the back of your leg to be pulled tight, thereby stopping the ability for the cramp to squeeze the muscle...which immediately stops the cramp! You need to point your toes to your nose quickly and tightly and hold it until you're sure the cramp is gone. If you relax your leg and start feeling the pain, pull those toes to your nose again.

Now understand, I'm not talking about actually touching your toes to your nose. That would look silly! The next time you get a leg cramp in the back muscle...your calf...quickly straighten your leg and point your toes up as tightly as you can and hold it. The term toes to your nose is just a simple rhyme to help you remember which direction to point. Even if you're awakened and the cramp is going full steam and you're afraid to move for fear of more pain...don't be afraid. Just pull those toes up so that you stretch out that back muscle and you'll instantly start to feel relief. In seconds, the cramp will be entirely gone.

I hope this helps someone out there stop the pain. I know it has for me. Since I learned this secret, I have never had a cramp last for more than a second or two before I've quickly stretched it out to stop it.

Glory Hallelujah!