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Hot Apps: KbAlertz.com

Would you like email notifications of the latest gotchas and fixes on the Microsoft products you use the most delivered to you on a silver platter each day? Here's how to get them.

Let's face it. Living in a world of Microsoft software, we run into lots of burps and need quick solutions to them. After a few contracts over the years to write about such software under my bulging belt, I've learned that the most comprehensive source of specific answers is the Knowledge Base on Microsoft's Web site . The problem is that navigating the Knowledge Base isn't for the meek. I've banged my head against my monitor more than a few times before successfully asking the right questions even though the answers almost invariably are there in the massive database.

But my headbanging days are over since I found KbAlertz.com, a free service that emails you daily reports of Knowledge Base articles on precisely the Microsoft products you specify. It's a brilliant idea that's simplicity personified. I'm amazed that nobody thought about it long ago.

Just provide your email address, a password, and the subjects on which you want updates. You can change your preferred list of subjects at any time. Your subject list is entirely a point-and-click affair. Choices range from ASP.Net 1.0 to XML Parser 3.0, and include many versions of Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office (with options to choose among specific Office components), Streets & Trips, games, and hardware.

You can temporarily disable emails if you will be offline for awhile, such as during an escapist vacation without a computer. You also can log onto the KbAlerz.com Web site to review recent alert results, which can be especially handy if you've disabled related email while offline or just been too harried to read your email updates lately, or if you want to check out alerts that aren't on your daily email digest. My only grumble with the Web search features is that I must accept cookies. But in this case, it's a small price to pay.

KbAlertz.com is really this simple. Why not take advantage of it?

KbAlertz.com
Price: Free
www.kbalertz.com

J.W. Olsen has been a full-time author, editor, and freelance book project manager with more than 1000 editorial credits for IT publishers since 1990, and has provided computer, Web site, and editorial services to other clients since 1985. He welcomes feedback via the e-mail response form at www.jwolsen.com.

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