Here is yet another nuance I was previously unaware of with how Microsoft
software can manage to trip up the unwary.  This is cut & paste from # 3 in
the latest issue of

           --==>> WOW -- WOODY's OFFICE WATCH <<==--
              Weekly advice and commiseration from
            Woody Leonhard, Certified Office Victim
         6 February 2002                    Vol 7 No 6

  1. Revisions in Word 2002
  2. Macro Awakening of the Old Accept/Reject Dialog
  3. Maybe a Hypocrite, but Nonetheless Right
  4. FrontPage 2002 and IIS 5.0
  5. Word Mayven: Don't Meander, Navigate in Word
  6. Office XP Developer Edition Service Pack 1 - and the Book
  7. Administrivia

  Remember the "on crash phone home" dilemma I talked about
  last week? I really felt bad about running detailed
  instructions in WOW for disabling Office XP's automatic
  error reporting - where a crash in Office XP triggers an
  automatic transfer of all pertinent information, including
  the contents of the document being constructed, back to
  Microsoft in Redmond. I got a message about the problem
  (with the above subject line - which I love dearly!) from
  C.E. Petit, Esq ( ):

  "I'm shaking my head at the whole controversy over whether
  documents should by default be sent with error reports.
  Haven't these people ever heard of either "lawsuit" or
  "voiding attorney-client privilege"? Since they were
  central issues at the MS antitrust trial, one would hope
  they had!

  "I advise all of my clients to turn it off for a simple
  reason: If a document is sent to a third party, it's not
  privileged any longer. Period. So, if my client is working
  on a confidential memo to the HR department suggesting that
  someone be fired for nefarious activities, and there's a
  crash, that memo will not be privileged (even if addressed
  to the company lawyer and seeking legal advice) if it's
  sent to MS. I've exploited this sort of problem to force
  disclosure of documents in the past; it's quite convincing
  to show the judge the record that the document was sent to
  the vendor's tech support department for debugging purposes
  and then look down one's nose at opposing counsel while
  questioning the basis for considering the document

  "So, for anyone who ever deals with information that could
  potentially be relevant to a lawsuit--and that means just
  about everybody--turn off the "automatic send" feature.
  Please. Your lawyers down the road will thank you, and
  you'll avoid potential liability for revealing confidential
  information to a third party (and thereby voiding your
  employer's trade secrets)."

  Microsoft's point - and it's a good one - is that you
  aren't required to send the report. You have to explicitly
  give your permission before any report is sent. If you're
  working on confidential documents, you obviously shouldn't
  forward them (or parts of them) to Microsoft's bug
  catchers. More than that, the default is to NOT send a
  report. You must explicitly click OK to have the report

  [ACCURACY ALERT: I'm putting words in Microsoft's mouth
  here. What you're reading is my take on Microsoft's stance,
  and I'm sure MS would disavow any knowledge of my lowly,
  groveling existence, much less acquiesce to my
  interpretation of the Party Line. I'd love to get an
  official comment from the 'Softies on this topic, though.
  Whaddya think, guys and gals?]

  Another note... I wonder why I haven't heard from the legal
  beagles in Europe? I thought this kind of thing was
  patently illegal in various European countries. Perhaps "on
  crash phone home" works differently in Europe? Ah well. I
  ain't a lawyer, in the US or anywhere else.

If you are interested in receiving the WOW e-newsletters weekly with lots of
information like this, send e-mail to to get your own FREE
subscription.  This week's edition, when printed out, came to 11 pages, which
is about average.

There are several different e-newsletters from the same outfit.

Woody's Windows Watch - for everyone's favorite operating system(s) NOT

Woody's Windows XP Tips - quick tips and hints for the WinXP crowd

Woody's Office for Mere Mortals - the tutorial

Woody's Project Watch - takes MS Project to new heights

Woody's Access Watch - database debunked

  Hit or you
  can request past issues to be sent by email . The
  current issue is always at

You can also get from the section on one kind of topic to the other ones.
If you use Microsoft on your PC to manage text, there's a wealth of tips &
gotchas supplied here. (Alister Wm Macintyre) (Al Mac)

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