Distractions & fun courtesy of Microsoft Bing

Distractions & fun courtesy of Microsoft Bing

As if there aren’t enough time wasting things online, Microsoft offers a few simple, free games to help you along in your work avoidance endeavours. Wander over to Bing.com and click on the little hamburger grid on the top right corner: Bing's Fun and Games

You don’t need to sign in or have a Microsoft account to play they work on all the major browsers.  Hidden away are  a variety of games ranging from trivia to jigsaw puzzles to suduko. Some are quite challenging (Suduko comes to mind) while others are basic and far too easy. Great if you don’t want to concentrate and only have 5 or 10 min to kill.

Here’s a sampling:

The jigsaw puzzles are limited and easy to slap together. I managed the “hard” one in under 3 min.   Good if you want to turn your brain off for a few minutes.

Screen capture of Bing's crossword puzzle

Rubiks cube is fun to piss around with, but alas, like the cube in real life I’m hopeless.

Screen capture of Bing's Fun and Games Rubik's cube And yes, Suduko is offered:

Screen capture of Bing's Suduko game

You are given the option of easy, medium and hard games. Hopefully the hard option is better than the shamefully easy to solve jigsaw puzzles. Give it a whirl, it’s free.

Bing’s Fun and Games offers suduko, sliding tiles, Rubiks, crosswords, jigsaws, 2048, trivia challenges, and a geography quiz. For those of you who prefer a hard copy of your suduko or crossword, skip down to the bottom of the page and click on Bing’s printable puzzles. Here, you can pick the puzzle you are interested in. If you’re a hard core suduko fan, look at the top of the Bing page where all the categories are strung out and click on 3D suduko. Be warned – not all the puzzles offered come with solution sheets. Like I said – hard core! This feature simply takes you to the Bing search page, so you can fine tune your search.

More ways to avoid work, hidden in the Bing menu. Enjoy. Hopefully Microsoft will bump up the challenge level and offer more games in the future.

 

 

 

Fun with Microsoft Cortana’s search

When I’m bored, I fire up Windows 10 Cortana and do random searches to see what pops up.  I become downright gleeful when I see this type of response:

Cortana's wonky search results

I always knew there was something shady about healthy snacks.

 

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**. 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”.

They thought the warnings were some kind of weird attacks on their favourite sites, and didn’t understand the webpage had been breached. Another frequent reason is more basic, the user simply didn’t understand what the threat meant. In an age when we are constantly pummeled by pop ups and warnings, it makes a strange sense. I try to educate my customers about the page blocks and what they actually mean. But it is an uphill battle.

The new clear warnings demystify the threats. Bing will now offer up a brief explanation about the threat and the danger it poses for the user. Here’s an example of one of the warnings:

image of Bing search engine phishing warning

Pretty easy to understand what is going on, even for the most naïve computer user. I like the link to “learn more”. It doesn’t leave the user hanging, wondering “wtf” is going on. It should discourage many from clicking through.

Clarity has never been a strong point for computer based warnings and this is a refreshing change.

READ MORE: Bing’s improved malware warnings


**Malware is short for malicious software. They are programs designed to invade the users computer and create changes without permission. Malware varies in intent – anything from loading adware onto your browser to stealing passwords and installing ransom ware.