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XP problems and Reid's demented little caterpillars

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The best advice about the great Microsoft Windows XP upgrade - Service Pack 2 - seems to be to wait. One gloomy prediction is that one-tenth of small businesses will have problems with the upgrade. There are problems with AutoCADs 2000, 2002 and 2004 and you can check out these and other problem applications at http: //support. microsoft.

com/default. aspx? kbid=842242. It offers a variety of solutions, but Fred Langa (at www. langalist. com) is running practical advice on the installation (also advising people to wait) and reports that you can get it free on CD-ROM from Microsoft at http: //go. microsoft. com/ - linkid=914701.

A while ago I took a look at Geoffrey Reid Associates' website and, apart from some niggles about not being able to vary the text size and the overly prolix nature of the text, it seemed good, lean, convincing stuff. The new site, of what is now snappily called Reid Architecture (at www. reidarchitecture.

com), is a lot of fun. The practice is now in the top 10, so I guess it feels it can afford to relax a bit. But the text is still unalterably small and thus easily viewable only by people under the age of 45 - which is to say, very few clients.

Never mind, this is a visual site and navigated, as you eventually find out, by a demented multicoloured caterpillar that follows you around at a distance.

Infuriated, you eventually try to ambush it. It expands a little, you rattle a bunch of mouse clicks at it and up comes a rather inelegant grid with the usual categories. Click on one of these and a new screen emerges with a coloured sketch on the left and on the right a zoomable image with a brief description and contact names. You have the option of looking at three different schemes per category and there is a nice, shambling shuffling of images when you do.

Only rival practices will hate it, but please don't copy. Doing visual humour calls for a very light touch, a selfconfidence based on performance not hubris. Oh, and real web design talent.

sutherland. lyall@btinternet. com

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