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Interview With Kim Komando

Aired November 24, 2002 - 09:51   ET


RENAY SAN MIGUEL, CNN ANCHOR: OK, tech time, and there is a lot to talk about this week. An alert about a security flaw that may allow hackers into your system. And on a lighter side, how computers can play a role in your holiday operations. Kim Komando can talk about it all, including her new book, "The 50 Biggest Computer Mistakes." And I bet I've made at least 49 of them.
Kim Komando now joins us. Thanks for being with us this morning. Good to see you.


SAN MIGUEL: Let's talk first about this Microsoft alert. The 65th and 66th security bulletins issued so far this year, and the year is not over yet for Microsoft. Talking about a hole in Windows. What are we talking about and what versions of Windows are affected?

KOMANDO: You know what's interesting is that there will always be a security alert. It seems like every week with Microsoft products, because if you're a hacker or a cracker and if you want to exploit a system, you're going to go after the biggest and best, right, so you're going to go after Microsoft.

This particular one affects all versions of Windows with the exception of Windows XP. And without getting overly technical, what it allows somebody to do is take control of your computer through what's called a buffer overrun. And what that means to you is that you need to go to and make sure that you have all the latest updates for that Windows operating system.

SAN MIGUEL: And we've also heard that it's a good idea to check just about every Wednesday or Thursday, because that's usually when they post these updates or these bulletins.

KOMANDO: Yeah, that's a good idea, but a lot of people are too busy to do that. So you can set up the Windows update to do it automatically for you. So any time that there is an update to Windows, you get that little notification, then you go ahead and install the update, and probably have to restart your system afterwards.

SAN MIGUEL: They will send those to you every time. Good point there.

Let's talk now about e-commerce. I'm hearing from folks like ComSquare MediaMetrix (ph) and Nielsen Net Ratings who measure the Internet usage that the real world retailers may be worrying about this Christmas in sales, but the e-commerce folks, you know, they are expecting a pretty good Christmas again, but there are some tips and some codes, I believe, that online shoppers can take advantage of. Tell us about these promotional codes.

KOMANDO: Oh, I love these things. I mean, if there is two things that I like, you've got computers and you've got shopping. You put them together, I'm there, babe.

SAN MIGUEL: And we know where you're going to be, that's right.

KOMANDO: That's it. But have you ever gone shopping and then when you get to the checkout, there is that like little box that says, do you have a promotional code, or do you have a coupon number? And if you're like me, you're like, no, but I've got to get one, and where is it.

Well, what happens is that there are these sites called like and that all they do is list all these codes. It's like, for example, this past week my mom called and said, listen, I'm at (ph) and I'm trying to buy something for Danielle, my niece, and do you know of any codes? And I went over to and I found a code that saved her 20 percent. So she saved like $42 just typing in that one little number. And so the way that I shop is I have my e-commerce site open, say or, and then I also have another window one open with the code sites. And it's a great way to save money; it's like instant savings.

SAN MIGUEL: And it sounds like -- and this is pretty much common knowledge, and I guess the e-tailers don't really have a problem with this, with these other independent sites giving out their codes?

KOMANDO: Well, you know, there are some cases right now that are happening on the Internet, like with Wal-Mart is kind of upset because they're listing what's for sale the day after Thanksgiving obviously before Thanksgiving. And these codes are primarily sent to people that have already purchased from the site. And so maybe somebody gets them in an e-mail. If you go to, they'll say free shipping or something like that. And so I don't think the retailers mind, but then again, I think maybe they're trying to figure out how to put a clamp on it so that only their bona fide customers get it, not people who are just passing through.

SAN MIGUEL: Got you. Let's move on to -- you know, we've got Thanksgiving coming up here, and I have to confess in attempting to prepare a Thanksgiving turkey on my own in past years I have called that 1-800 number. And we all know what we're talking about. And sometimes the closer you get to Thanksgiving, the more busy signals you run into. How can the Internet help out now with recipes and just basic preparation for a Thanksgiving turkey?

KOMANDO: Well, I don't think your story is as bad as mine when I actually cooked the turkey with that plastic bag on the inside. Not a good thing. Yes. is a great place. And since you mentioned the 1-800 number, you also have And if you just can't cook at all -- I mean, let's face it, you don't want to have the family over and everything looks a mess -- is that you can purchase a cooked turkey on the Internet and have it delivered. You still have time. And you can go to like or

Now, the cost is pretty pricey. I mean, instead of spending like 30 or 40 cents a pound, you're looking at upwards of $12 a pound to have a cooked turkey delivered.

SAN MIGUEL: You know, I can hear mothers all over the country saying, don't give these out because this is the only time my son or daughter ever calls me all year long. And now you're giving out these online items here.

Let me get to a quick e-mail before we let you go here. And this is kind of like, I guess basic Internet 101 here. But Steve writes in, wants to know why do some Web sites need the www in front of them and others don't?

KOMANDO: You know, it's a basic question, but it's one that I get asked a lot. It's simply a matter of programming the Web site. It's nothing that you've done or it's nothing that you can do to prevent typing the www. It's just something on the sites' programming sites.

But since we're talking about typing in addresses, a quick tip: Let's say you wanted to go to You don't have to sit there and type You just type in CNN in the address bar, hit control/enter, and it will fill in the rest for you.

SAN MIGUEL: That's always a good shortcut there. Kim Komando, good information as always. We will see you next time. And if we don't see you before, have a great Thanksgiving.

KOMANDO: You too.

SAN MIGUEL: All right. Thanks a lot.


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