Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Tech support tales - Microsoft Store support

Last week my beloved out of warranty, Surface 2 died.  I'm surprised you couldn't hear the wails of despair coming out of Toronto. It has been lugged all over the city on service calls, espresso breaks, sitting on my bed reading newspapers, watching Netflix, reading books, listening to radio - it was rarely off.  I LOVED MY SURFACE.... yea, a bit sad and nerdy but the tablet did everything I needed in a portable device. The big bonus has always been the inclusion of Office.  All my invoices were quick and easy to use, Word to peck away at and OneNote. I've become a OneNote power user by the way.  It's like carting a big ass binder around, without the hassles of paper falling all over the place.

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Microsoft's HoloLens - lot of possibilities but ....

Microsoft HoloLens

Microsoft has developed their own smartlens, but upped it to a complete holograph device without the cumbersome headgear. It's an intriging project - basically putting your computer into a wearable lens and using the world as your screen. Windows 10 will be the first OS to support the project and the headgear has already been developed.  HoloLens will untether users from the monitor and allow them to call up 3d screens to work with. 

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WordPress security update - don't neglect it

Wordpress is quite diligent in issuing patches, especially for security issues.  This week, they issued another that upgrades WP to 4.1.2 and patches a critical issue. The patch corrects the following:

  • stops anonymous users from uploading their own files  
  • halts a  cross-site scripting vulnerability that can be used in an social engineering hack
  • patches a SQL plugin vulnerability

Some of your plugins may not work after the update, but that's always a small price to pay. You can always find another plugin.

 

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Ransomware 101 - precautions are up to you

A lot of ink is being spilt over Ransomware this month, the cyber threat de jour. This week alone, I counted 5 articles bemoaning how the authors had to pay to have their files released. I'm a bit baffled by this. They seem to be surprised they were hit by a nasty virus and that by not backing up all their vital files, they were left vulnerable. I'm sympathetic, to a degree, but deeply irritated by the naiveté. Storing 10 years' worth of files on your computer and not backing it up is foolish to the point of stupidity. The least of your worries are hackers. I can understand if it's someone who isn't in the industry or doesn't make a living with their computer, but professionals who live and die by their computer?  

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Biometrics coming to Windows 10

Microsoft unveiled new security features for Windows 10. One of the most intriguing is their biometric start-up page. When you log into Windows now  you can setup a password or (in the case of 8.1) a 4 digit pin number. The new OS will take advantage of biometrics and facial recognition to keep your computer secure. In keeping with Microsoft's "let's choose a dorky name" policy, it will be called "Windows Hello". Ok, ok, It's a lot better than "Charm Bar" so I'll let them have that.

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Panda Antivirus error prevents Windows login

Panda antivirus users were dished up a nasty shock yesterday (or today if you were one of the ones who shut your computer off) when an error in yesterday's update "may have caused some files to be moved to quarantine". This is a rather polite way of saying "your computer is now screwed".

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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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