Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Bing search engine brings clarity to the malware fight

Lurking around the Microsoft blogs this morning and spotted this:

Image of new Bing search engine warning

Microsoft is changing how they alert Bing users to sites infected with malware[i]. We’ve become used to the mysterious, generic messages declaring a site unsafe and warning not to go further. This wasn’t much of an incentive to some and people still clicked through the message. I’ve dealt with customers who ignored the warning and I kind of understood. That doesn't mean I wasn’t frustrated by their act and didn’t bill them, it’s just that computer users have become immune to many of the cryptic warnings that get tossed up on their screen. I think of it as “computer comatositis”.

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Win 10 Tips 'n hints - a little fun with the calculator app VIDEO

Episode 2 of my new series - Windows 10 Tips 'n Hints for the home user.  This week, I look at the extras included in the much ignored built in calculator. 

If you have an idea for an episode, drop me a comment.     

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Win 10 Tips 'n hints - easy photo editing VIDEO

I'm trying something new - videos of various tips and hints for Windows 10 users.  I started thinking about doing this as an aid to my customers and decided to go full bore and load them up to YouTube and share them with my readers. 

First episode: Easy editing with Windows 10 built in Photo App.  You can go directly to YouTube and see it there if you prefer.

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Microsoft renews commitment to Windows Mobile

Image of Windows PhonesGood news for Windows Mobile users – you aren’t going to be abandoned. Every time I read “windows phone is dead” or “Win mobile circling the drain” I sigh and roll my eyes. This has been the mainstay Henny Penny cry of the tech writers for a few years now and has become tedious in it’s insistence.   Microsoft has a fairly good track record of sticking with a product for the long run and mobile has room for growth. Windows Mobile (formerly called Windows Phone) has an opportunity to capitalise on Apple’s doldrums. If they can push the idea of seamless synching between laptop/Windows 10 tablet and your phone, they should be able to push sales above the embarrassing level they currently languish. In a leaked email (to Windows Central), Microsoft’s VP of Windows and Devices, confirmed it is not dumping their mobile unit: “Let me be very clear: We are committed to deliver Windows 10 on mobile devices with small screen running ARM processors.” (Terry Myerson)

It’s clear MS isn’t going to abandon users in the near future, and this commitment will allow current and potential users to move forward with a greater degree of confidence.

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Google's staggeringly ill thought out April's Fool prank

Gmail IconI’m not a fan of April Fool’s. I find the entire concept contrived and tired. Very rarely are the jokes amusing and they often seem to be built around the concept of embarrassing people.

Someone in the Google Empire thought it would be a brilliant idea to put a fake Send button onto Gmail accounts. People who tapped it, sent off a joke gif called Minion mic drop instead. So potentially, that important client or crabby assed boss received an animated gif instead of your report. Ha ha, right? There are reports a person losing their job, job interview acknowledgements not delivered and some contracts jeopardised. I believe this has happened.  I’ve dealt with pain in the ass employers who fired people with little provocation. I’ve also dealt with employees so harried, they may not have noticed anything different on their screen and would have tapped the button without hesitation. You don’t expect a corporation like Google to screw around with something as essential as a Send button.

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MS Office Themes – increase your workspace contrast

You can adjust the background theme for Office to suit your work style.  If you want a higher contrast background, or prefer a darker framework, you can make a quick change to Office.

All you need to do is click on File -> Options -> Personalise your copy of Microsoft Office. Click on the drop down box for Office Themes.  You have a couple of choices, but Black offers the highest contrast. It'll look like this: Microsoft Office high contrast black theme It's not to everyone's taste, but if you are working in a really bright office, the dark theme is a bit easier on the eyes.  You can quickly switch it back if you don't like it.    

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“We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.”

 ― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

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